Medicare mistakes can really cost you. How can you avoid them? Knowing what they are is the first step!  Here they are:

  • Letting Your Part D Plan Renew Automatically Every Year.  If you simply allow your Part D plan to be renewed, there is a possibility you could pay more than you should have to for your plan.  Costs and coverages change from year to year.  During the dates of October 15th and December 7th, be sure to review your plan to make sure you pick the best option for your situation. Compare costs of medications frequently as well as monthly premiums. Switch plans if you think it doesn’t help your needs anymore.

  • Not Picking the Right Medigap Plan.  Medigap is a supplemental insurance that you can buy to provide extra coverage to cover some or most of your out-of-pocket expenses.  However, in order to get full protection, you will need to buy it within six months of enrollment.  Within this six month timeframe, Medigap insurers cannot deny you coverage or charge higher premiums based on your current health or pre-existing conditions.  This six-month window is a one-time opportunity.  One you will not want to miss!

  • Forgetting That You Can Sign Up for Medicare at 65.  If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you will be automatically be enrolled in Medicare.  If not, however, you will need to enroll during your initial enrollment period.  This takes place three months before and after your 65th birthday.  Even if you are still working, you will need to enroll.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t have to!

  • Neglecting to Sign up for Part B because You have Retiree or COBRA Coverage.  Medicare is generally considered to be your primary insurance.  Any other coverage you have is secondary.  Even if you have Retiree coverage or COBRA coverage, these are not considered to be primary coverage after you turn 65.  To make matters worse, if you don’t sign up for Medicare you may have gaps in coverage and be subject to a lifetime late-enrollment penalty of 10% of the current Part B premium for every year you should have been enrolled in Part B but were not.

  • Choosing the Wrong Medicare Plan.  You have two choices to gain coverage through Medicare: Original Plans A and B with Part D, or Medicare Advantage including Part D. Both options have benefits and disadvantages, so choose carefully!  Advantage plans in Medicare tend to cost less, but they have other restrictions attached to them. Original plans might cost more, but you can use it wherever Medicare is accepted. People who travel a significant amount will often pick the Original plan.

  • Ignoring Your Annual Notice of Change.  Every fall, you will receive a notice of renewal from Medicare.  This renewal notice will explain what changes are being made and how your coverage will be affected.  Be sure to read this notice!  You need to understand if services you need will be covered, or if pharmacy changes are being made.  Also look at copayments, deductibles and coinsurance amounts.  Small changes could add up to many dollars over the course of a year!

Medicare plans often have a lot of challenges - but keeping up on the changes and updates is crucial. Don’t get lost in all the information and be sure to ask questions when needed. The professionals at Silvercare are here to help, just give us a call!

6 medicare mistakes to avoid

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November 27, 2018