As many of you know, Medicare is complicated. Many Medicare mistakes occur on a regular basis. Avoiding these mistakes ensures that you’ll have far fewer challenges in getting the care you need.
If you haven’t enrolled in Medicare yet, you’ll be well ahead of the game by keeping these common mistakes in mind. Prevention is the best medicine!
If you’re currently enrolled, you can save yourself a lot of money and grief by knowing that you’re not committing any of these common mistakes.
Avoid these common Medicare mistakes:
1. Not enrolling in a Part D Prescription Drug Plan when first eligible. Not enrolling in a Part D Prescription plan and you can incur a late enrollment penalty of 1% for every month without coverage, that’s 12% a year.
- Assuming that the best Part D Plan is the same as that of your spouse, neighbor, family member, or friend. Consider your prescription needs. They may not be the same as others. Be sure to determine the coverage for the specific medications you take on a regular basis.
- Determine your out-of-pocket expenses for yourself. Ensure that you’re on the best plan for your individual situation.
- Assuming you haven’t worked enough to qualify for Medicare. It’s only necessary to work for 40 quarters, or 10 years, to avoid paying the dreaded Part A premium. Part A covers hospital expenses. Be certain that you don’t qualify instead of making assumptions.
- Believing that open enrollment is the only time you can make a change. There are qualifying circumstances that will allow you to change your plan outside of the usual October 15th through December 7th Do your research to see if any apply to you.
- Not realizing that you may need to sign up for Medicare when you turn 65:
- If you’re not receiving social security benefits, you’ll have to sign up for Medicare manually. It’s possible to sign up online.
- If you are receiving social security benefits, you should be automatically enrolled in Medicare and should receive your Medicare card in the mail 3-6 months before your 65th
- Not enrolling in Part B or declining Part B when you first become eligible. Not enrolling in Part B or declining Part B and you can be penalized for life. Not everyone needs to enroll in Part B if they are getting medical coverage thru another source, such as the VA. However, for most of us, if you don’t get Part B when first eligible you can be penalized 10% for each year you could have signed up for Part B but didn’t. Example: You waited two years to enroll in Part B and you’ll have to pay a 20% late enrollment penalty.
- Paying significantly more in Part B premiums due to IRMAA. Earning more than $91,000 per year for singles filers can increase your premiums significantly. If you’re close to the limit, it’s worthwhile to see if a few adjustments can be made to stay below the $91,000 ceiling.
- Attempting to combine a health savings account and Medicare Part A. You can’t do both. You can continue contributing to your HSA after the age of 65, but you can’t enroll for Part A coverage. Determine which is more valuable for you.
- Failing to get expert advice. Given how complicated Medicare can be, one of the worst things you can do is to trust the advice of a friend.
- Your unique financial and health situations are important factors to consider when making Medicare decisions. Your friend’s advice is influenced by his own situation. If you have questions, speak with a Medicare Specialist, such as Harris Advisors.
- Failing to sign up because you’re still employed. Depending on the quality of your employer’s insurance plan, it may be very advantageous to sign up for Medicare when you reach 65.
- Assuming your healthcare providers will all be part of your Medicare Advantage plan. Some Advantage plans require that your hospital and healthcare providers be part of a network. When considering a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s important to confirm that your healthcare providers accept the plan. Otherwise, you’ll pay more out of pocket.
By avoiding these common Medicare mistakes, you can ensure that you have the most economical coverage for your situation. Medicare can be complicated. Don’t go it alone. For health and financial peace of mind, take the time to examine your current coverage with a Medicare Specialist at Harris Advisors. We’d love to help you make this very important decision.