Medicare is a federal program that helps seniors cover the bulk of their medical expenses. It’s a great program that helps over 44 million Americans find the right healthcare at a price they can afford. Yet, despite being so popular, there are still many misconceptions about Medicare that get in the way.
Like most of the healthcare in the United States, the rules and laws around Medicare are confusing. Making a mistake is easy, but it’ll cost you. Not only could you miss out on signing up in time, but you might even end up spending more on healthcare costs. Because you deserve the right coverage for you, make sure you choose wisely by avoiding these 4 mistakes when enrolling in Medicare.
1. You Miss Your Enrollment Window
The most common mistake made with Medicare is missing your enrollment window. Unless you’re already enrolled in social security benefits before you’re 65, you won’t be automatically enrolled in Medicare. It’s your responsibility to enroll during your enrollment window. This window starts 3 months before your 65th birthday and continues 3 months after.
What happens if you miss your enrollment window? You can still signup during the annual open enrollment period. This is between October 15 and December 7. While you can enroll, you might be subject to late fees depending on your situation.
Finally, this enrollment period is also the time when you can switch plans. If you didn’t already have a Medicare Part D plan, now is the time to sign up. If you want to switch from Medicare Advantage to a traditional Part A and Part B plan, this is the time. If you don’t make this enrollment period, you’ll likely need to wait another year to get coverage.
2. You Don’t Consider Your Plan Options
Many people automatically sign up for Medicare Part A and B without considering other options. It’s a widespread misconception that your options are limited. In fact, with a Medicare Part C plan, also known as Medicare Advantage, you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to coverage and budget.
Medicare Advantage allows you to purchase a federally-approved plan from a private insurer. This allows you access to in-network doctors, different coverage options, and supplemental plans. It might be cheaper depending on your needs, and it’s undoubtedly more flexible than a traditional plan which has limitations and doesn’t cover all treatment.
If you’re still wondering what is Medicare and how to get it, take action today. The more you learn about your different plan options and the sign-up process, the better equipped you’ll be to make the right decision for you whether you choose a traditional plan or Medicare Advantage.
3. Not Signing Up For Medigap Plans
Medigap plans are a type of extra health insurance that you purchase from a private insurance company. It helps fill in the “gaps” of your Medicare plan since these plans often don’t cover everything you might need. Common Medigap plans include dental care, vision care, and long-term care.
You need to consider Medigap plans soon after your enrollment. You can get any plan in your area if you buy your supplement plan within 6 months of enrolling in Medicare. If you wait, you might be rejected because of a pre-existing condition or your health. These rules depend on the individual state, but you should educate yourself so you’re not trapped without the right Medigap coverage.
4. Forgetting to Sign Up After You Leave Your Job
Finally, if you’re currently working and receive healthcare coverage through your employer, you don’t have to sign up for Medicare during the age 65 enrollment window. As long as your employer has 20 or more employees, you can wait until you leave your job.
However, you need to sign up for Medicare within 8 months of leaving your job to avoid waiting until the next enrollment period. Failing to remember this important detail will not only leave you without coverage, but you could be subject to a penalty fee.
Enroll in Medicare Confidently
Are you prepared to enroll in Medicare? Whether you or someone you love is approaching 65, take the time to learn as much as you can about this program. It might sound confusing at first, but it’s more straightforward than you think.
These mistakes above aren’t worth the time and money. A little research will go a long way towards ensuring you have quality coverage you can afford.
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