Medicare is a challenging topic. Further, many Americans approaching eligibility at age 64 – or already eligible and enrolled at 65 – don’t know what they need to about the federal health program.
In this case, what you don’t know can hurt you. Not being informed about Medicare can have an especially detrimental effect on the future of your finances. Read on to learn more about what you should know before turning 65 and leave your misconceptions about Medicare behind!
Insufficiently Informed About Medicare at 64
Unfortunately, a lack of knowledge about Medicare doesn’t stop people from enrolling once eligible. Results of such a choice can range from inadequate health coverage to feeling overwhelmed by the price of care.
In 2006, the California Health Care Foundation published results from a study on what 64-year-olds know about Medicare. Although this study is over a decade old and technology makes information more accessible now, the issues remain – especially with changes happening in Medicare all the time.
A mere 11% of Californians reported knowing at least most of what they should about Medicare. Yet, a whopping almost 60% admitted having little to no knowledge of the subject.
Further, nearly half reported not knowing where to find more information about Medicare. A key revelation of the study is that the Californians in the sample were receptive to learning more.
Medicare Misconceptions When Aging In
One big misconception is that every American automatically gets Medicare at age 65. Those who are collecting Social Security will automatically enroll in Part A and Part B. However, they will need to shop around for a Part D or Advantage plan to obtain prescription drug coverage.
If you’re not yet collecting Social Security when your 65th birthday comes around, you’ll need to sign up for Medicare through the Social Security Administration. It’s best to take advantage of your Initial Enrollment Period to do so.
While Medicare isn’t mandatory, picking it up after lacking creditable coverage once you’re eligible will cost you. Penalties also apply to prescription drug coverage. So, even if you don’t currently take prescription medications, putting off your coverage can cost even more in the long run.
The amount of cost-sharing that comes with Medicare coverage is a shock to many new beneficiaries. Premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance can add up over a short time on Original Medicare.
A Medicare enrollee may learn how Medigap policies can reduce cost-sharing after their Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment window closes. Consequently, their selection of plan options may be smaller.
Also, many people are surprised to find out Medicare won’t cover chronic needs or custodial care. Meaning, if you eventually need to live in a nursing home permanently, payment will be entirely out-of-pocket.
Yet, many people assume that Medicare will take care of at least a portion of these costs. As a result, they don’t plan financially for such expenses throughout their working years.
How to Learn About Medicare Before Turning 65
MedicareFAQ serves as a learning resource for Medicare beneficiaries and their families. We strive to educate people about Medicare to make informed decisions that benefit the future of their health and finances.
Call the phone number above if you’re ready to speak to someone about your Medicare coverage options. You can also use our online rate form to see premium prices for plans near you. We work with beneficiaries across the nation and are glad to help you find the best coverage available.