Choosing the right Medicare plan is one of the most important decisions you have to make as a senior. Since there are hundreds of policies to consider when choosing, and an overabundance of information to plow through with each one, most people just get frustrated and guess when they choose a policy.
But by taking that approach, they can end up hurting themselves by paying too much for a plan that does not cover their needs. These are the six most common errors to avoid when enrolling in Medicare:
Signing up too late or too early
The initial enrollment period for Medicare is when a person is 65 or nearing that age. Before turning 65, it is important to know what to do and when to enroll.
Failing to do so will result in long-term penalties. If a person who is nearing the age of 65 is still working or their spouse is still working and personal insurance complies with specific requirements, it makes sense for that individual to put off enrollment in Parts A, B and D.
Not knowing the difference between a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medicare supplement plan
People who are new to Medicare have an important choice to make when deciding whether to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or in original Medicare.
Before enrolling, it is important to understand the benefits and advantages of each choice.
Original Medicare involves a fee-for-service structure. Many people supplement their original Medicare plan with an Advantage plan to fill coverage gaps.
In addition to this, beneficiaries typically choose a Part D plan to cover prescription medications. But while parts A and B in original Medicare cover some procedures and treatments, they usually lack coverage for others.
This is where a supplemental plan is helpful. Advantage plans are considered Part C and are meant to replace Parts A and B, but not to be supplemental plans. Medicare Part C plans also include prescription drug coverage.
Guessing when choosing a plan
It takes a great deal of time to compare plans. But, it is essential to do some homework and invest time in researching. Avoid the common mistake of just picking an option out of frustration.
Before picking a plan, review individual health insurance needs. Think about these factors to avoid picking a plan in haste:
- Is there existing coverage from another source?
- Which hospitals and doctors are preferred?
- Are there any existing chronic conditions?
- What prescriptions are needed and where can they be obtained?
Failing to apply for financial assistance
Millions of ageing adults are eligible for one or more types of aid, but do not realize it. Financial assistance can be used to pay for prescriptions, coinsurance costs and health plan premiums.
For those who have modest retirement income, it is best to check qualification criteria in advance. Discuss eligibility concerns and available options with an agent.
Not evaluating coverage each year
It is no longer a one-time choice for Medicare beneficiaries to pick health insurance. Changes are made to policies by insurance companies each year.
If a certain doctor and medication are covered in one year, this does not mean they will be covered the next. Experts say that beneficiaries could save themselves about $300 every year if they review Part D coverage annually.
Research any coinsurance, cost and prescription drug changes. When determining if it is time to make plan changes, think about current health needs:
- Have they changed?
- Is the plan still meeting all individual needs?
- How many out-of-pocket expenses have there been in the past year?
- What were the expenses for?
Not seeking help
No person should have to go through this process alone, and nobody has to. We can help you when considering and picking options.
When unsure about choices, use the Medicare QuickCheck feature to receive a customized report showing individual options. Use the report to start a discussion with us about these options and which ones are best for your situation.