Medicare Mistakes You Should Avoid Making
Medicare is very complex and can be very confusing. As a result, many beneficiaries sign up without a complete understanding of how it works and make costly decisions that result in gaps in coverage, inadequate coverage, high premiums, and so on. Here are some of the most common mistakes you should avoid making.
Not signing up for Medicare on time
For those that receive social security benefits before turning 65, Medicare will automatically sign them up. If you don’t, you’ll have to sign up on your own during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This is a 7-month window that includes the 3 months before your birthday month, the month you turn 65, and the three months after. Although you have another opportunity to enroll during the General Enrollment Period, there’ll be a gap in your coverage, and you’ll pay a higher premium and face other penalties.
Not understanding how Medicare works
Not understanding how Medicare works is a mistake you want to avoid. For example, you should know that there are different parts, including Parts A, B, C, and D, each offering coverages. Signing up for only Part A and B may be inadequate if you need drug prescription services. You’ll also have to sign up for Part C to get the benefits of Part A and B along with others such as Dental, Vision, and Hearing, wellness programs, gym memberships, etc.
Assuming Medicare also covers your spouse
When you sign up for Medicare, it’s a huge mistake to assume that your coverage also covers your spouse. Unlike employer coverage that covers the entire family, Medicare is individual-based.
Therefore, your spouse must also enroll in Medicare when they turn 65. If your spouse doesn’t meet the age criteria for Medicare, they’ll have to get healthcare coverage elsewhere.
Delaying enrollment if your employer coverage is secondary
If you have healthcare coverage through your employer, Medicare becomes your primary or secondary health coverage depending on the size of your employer. This means Medicare pays first as the primary coverage or second as the secondary coverage.
If Medicare is your primary coverage, your employer coverage will only pay after Medicare pays its share. Failing to sign up for Medicare with your employer coverage as secondary will mean you’ll have no coverage.
Not knowing that a higher income means a higher premium
In 2022, the monthly premium for Part B is $170.10 if your income is $91,000 or less and $182,000 or less if you file a joint tax return. However, your monthly premium increases to $238.10 if you earn even $1 more. You’ll also pay a higher premium for Medicare prescription drug coverage if you are classified as a higher-income beneficiary.
Understanding the basics of Medicare and avoiding these mistakes and more will help you get the right coverage for your health and at a cost you can afford. A licensed Medicare agent can walk you through your options. Schedule an appointment to get started.