Debunking Costly Medicare Mistakes When Not Retiring
So, what about debunking costly Medicare mistakes when not retiring? The majority are under the impression that Medicare covers most health care costs. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true.
Not everyone retires at 65. For some, they may not retire. Either way, avoidable mistakes in Medicare coverage are made every day.
When caring for another, or family member, making mistakes about healthcare coverage is easy. Unfortunately, sometimes such mistakes cost more than what some beneficiaries can afford.
Costly Medicare Mistakes When Not Retiring
Medicare is confusing, understanding what you can do to keep expenses at bay is important. Here are some common Medicare cost mistakes to easily avoid.
Things get out of order and fast. Luckily, we put together a few tips to help debunk some expensive and avoidable Medicare bills.
First things first – the Medicare federal health insurance program for seniors 65 (and older) doesn’t cover all medical expenses. This is a huge misconception; many think Medicare pays more.
This causes beneficiaries to spend more or enroll in the wrong plan. The average beneficiary spends about $8,000+ in medical costs annually. Meanwhile, other beneficiaries pay out-of-pocket for about half of their health care costs for the year.
In fact, 90% of all Medicare beneficiaries end up paying more out-of-pocket for health care than they should. Good news is, there are ways to avoid and cut these costs.
Review Part D Policies Every Year
The Part D Coverage Gap faces changes on January 1, 2020. Without reviewing policies for the new year, beneficiaries could face extra charges or costs.
Additionally, new medications may not be on your current plan’s formulary. Also, other plans may offer better rates or new restrictions on pharmacies to use. Members should use the Annual Enrollment Period to review and make any changes to their plans.
Don’t Buy the Same Part D Plan as Your Partner
Sure, we want to do everything with our other half. However, prescription drug coverage shouldn’t be one of those ‘shared’ things. Most two people don’t take the same medications, and there are no spousal discounts for Medicare Part D plans.
The most important thing is finding a plan that covers specific drugs. Furthermore, after determining the right plan per medical needs – check for the plans’ pharmacies.
Certain pharmacies have better rates, and some plans require members to use specific pharmacies. Otherwise, prescriptions can be more expensive elsewhere.
Stay in Your Network
Many beneficiaries choose a private Medicare Advantage (MA) plan for coverage. MAs cover medical costs while including prescription drug coverage. Advantage plans must provide the same coverage Original Medicare offers.
Most MA plans offer additional coverage for things Part A and B doesn’t cover. Services include routine hearing, vision, and dental services. However, usually, members need to use their plan’s network of providers and facilities to get the lowest copayments.
In fact, some MA plans don’t cover any services outside of the plan’s network; unless it’s in an emergency. It’s important to know a plan’s network of providers to avoid coming out of pocket for healthcare services.
Change Medicare Advantage Plans Mid-Year if Need-Be
Life happens. Even though MA plans’ Annual Enrollment Period runs from Oct. – December, there may be another chance to make a policy change. The MA Open Enrollment Period from Jan. 1 – Mar 31 allows members to change Medicare Advantage plans.
On the other hand, if certain life events occur beneficiaries may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. For example, moving to a new area where an old plan doesn’t offer coverage.
Too many Medicare mistakes are made due to a lack of understanding or knowing the different enrollment periods. It’s important to know when the right time to join or make policy changes.
Choosing the Right Medigap Plan
A costly Medicare mistake when not Retiring that many individuals make is rushing into a plan. Not choosing the right supplement coverage for the gaps in health insurance can be costly.
In fact, joining a supplement insurance policy within the first 6-months of signing up for Part B coverage is the best option to avoid extra fees.
During this time, any plan is available, no matter a health condition. Switching plans after this outside of this period can result in plans rejecting or up charging due to medical state.
Choosing the right Medigap plan and using an agent can debunk serious costly medical bills. Medigap plans are classified by letters, each with different amounts and coverage options.
Many forget how important it is to pick a plan that matches both health and budget needs.
For instance, let’s take Plan F the most popular of all plans. Plan F offers the most benefit, and coverage with the fewest out-of-pocket costs. However, this plan is going away for anyone eligible for Medicare after Jan. 1, 2020.
No need to panic, Plan G offers similar coverage options. However, the difference is Plan G doesn’t cover the Part B annual deductible. Of course, other Medigap policies like, Plan N is available for newly eligible beneficiaries.
Sign Up for Medicare at 65, Don’t Wait!
For those not receiving Social Security benefits, enrolling in Medicare won’t be automatic. Right before turning 65, sign up for Medicare health coverage. Applying is done online or in a local Social Security office.
Enroll in Part A during the Initial Enrollment Period. Even if a person still has employer health insurance, Part A acts as secondary insurance.
The initial window to enroll is 7 months long. Starting 3-months before a person turns 65, the month of, and 3-months after.
At the very least, use this time to sign up for Part A. Part B is optional depending on your spouse or any employer coverage. However, depending on the circumstance late penalties apply.
Use an Agent to Prevent Costly Medicare Mistakes
Medicare agents are available, and free of charge to inquiring patients. The best way to debunk any extra Medicare costs is to use an agent. Comparing costs, rates, and coverage options is an agent’s specialty. Leave the hard work to them.
Moreover, this option ensures all questions are answered and consumers understand their options. Otherwise, additional costs add up due to gaps in coverage.
Unfortunately, the majority over-spending on healthcare is because of a lack of knowledge.
Retiring is an entire phase of life, whether it be exciting or stressful. Choosing to wait for retirement isn’t uncommon. However, anytime changes in finances are always something to stay on top of.
Understanding the cost of medical expenses is the best option for beneficiaries. Knowing costs helps members avoid what they can’t afford or choose a better plan option.
Call an agent above for a free consultation, or to compare rates online fill out a rate comparison form!