Top 10 Medicare Mistakes & How to Avoid Them
Mistake #1. Not joining Medicare when you are initially eligible...
Here are some important enrollment points to know...
If you are currently receiving Social Security benefits you will be automatically enrolled into Medicare Parts A & B when you turn 65.
If you have not received your Medicare Card 60 days prior to your 65th birthday, call Social Security (they manage Medicare Enrollments) to make sure they have your correct address and that you are enrolled.
If you are close to 65 but not receiving Social Security benefits, you will need to sign up for Medicare. Call Social Security 3 months prior to your 65th birth month 65 and sign up.
If you are not automatically enrolled, you have a 7 month window to enroll into Medicare Part A and/or Part B called your "Initial Enrollment Period" This period begins 3 months prior to your birth month, your birth month, and 3 months following your birth month.
Even though you have this 7 month period to enroll, it is VERY important to sign up BEFORE your birth month to prevent a delay in receiving Part B benefits. This delay will cause a Part B penalty!
And lastly, If you do not enroll during the initial enrollment period you will lose your guaranteed issue rights for a Medicare Supplement. My advise, use an licensed Medicare Agent to guide you through your enrollment process. Using an Agent that specializes in Medicare does not cost you a dime!
Mistake #2. Assuming you will be auto enrolled...
If you are turning 65 in the next 3 months and have not received your Red, White & Blue Medicare Card you should call Social Security to verify your enrollment. If you plan to delay receiving Social Security benefits, contact a licensed Medicare Agent for further advise.
Mistake #3. Delaying Part B enrollment when you have employer coverage...
This can be very tricky as it applies to your Part B enrollment. If your employer's coverage is not as good as Medicare you will be subject to a Part B penalty. Your HR folks can help you with this.
Mistake #4. Not paying your part B premium (if you are not on Social Security then Medicare will invoiced you quarterly)
Some folks on Medicare Part B, that are not on Social Security, mail a quarterly check for their premium. This is a BAD idea. If you miss a payment and your coverage stops, you could be subject to substantial medical bills and penalties. My advise, have your Part B premiums bank drafted!
Mistake #5. Failing to enroll in Part B...
Some folks simply figure they are healthy and don't need Medicare's Part B. We all want to save money during retirement -- I get that! But this is truly a bad decision, because if you do get sick and sign up late, the late enrollment penalties are substantial. My advise, don't take a chance!.
Mistake #6. Not joining a Part D Prescription Drug plan because you don’t use Prescriptions...
Same advise as Mistake #5 and I see this happen often. Like Part B, you should get your Part D Prescription Plan when you join Medicare. Late enrollment penalties can be substantial.
Mistake #7. Picking a Plan that does not include your Doctor...
This mistake is usually made by an enrollee simply not calling their doctor to see if they are in a plan's network. This is also an error made by "Beginner Agents" or Agents trying to push a plan on you! My advise, make sure your agent checks their plan's physician's network.
Be very wary of an Agent that does not check to see if your doctor is in network! Also, be wary of an agent that does not check to see if your prescriptions are covered by the plan they represent. Not checking for network doctors and covered prescriptions can be a costly mistake for YOU!
Mistake #8. Assuming Medicare covers everything...
And it doesn't! Enough said. When you join Medicare you should receive your personal copy of Medicare's "Medicare & You Handbook". In the future I am sure that we will rely on the internet for such information, meanwhile check your handbook or ask your Agent if you are concerned that your medical conditions are not covered.
Mistake #9. Assuming you can’t afford your premiums
There are great resources available at the State Level to help folks with their Medicare co-pays and deductibles. A good experienced Medicare Agent can be a valuable resource for this information.
Mistake #10. Not using a Medicare Trained Licensed Agent. GOING IT ALONE!
Reach out to me (Frank Mills) when you are ready to enroll into Medicare, I will show you ALL of your options so you can make an informed and confident choice.