Enrolling in Medicare is all about timing. You are eligible for Medicare when you turn 65. Most of us have heard that in the past but aren’t really sure what that means. Did you know that the only individuals that get anything from the federal government about Medicare are those already enrolled in Social Security? These beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare automatically and can send back their card if they don’t want Part B. For the rest of us, we have to learn about how and when to enroll in Medicare on our own. Your Medicare Store is here to help with that. We hold free educational events every 2nd Saturday of the month at our location in Mesa on the corner of Southern Ave and Gilbert Rd.
Here are the top 10 Enrollment mistakes I see.
1. Not knowing when you are supposed to sign up for Medicare. You are eligible for Medicare at age 65 but if you are covered by current GROUP EMPLOYMENT health insurance, you can delay your enrollment until you retire.
2. Not knowing HOW to sign up for Medicare. You enroll in Medicare through Social Security.
3. Thinking that VA, COBRA and retirement Insurance plans are a substitute for Medicare Part B. If you don't sign up when first eligible, you'll probably pay a late enrollment penalty.
4. Ignoring the late enrollment penalty for Part B. The penalty is 10% per year that you should have had coverage but didn’t. This is a lifetime penalty.
5. Ignoring the late enrollment penalty for Part D. The penalty is 1% of the average national premium Part D per month for every month you don’t have creditable coverage but should have. VA is considered creditable coverage for Part D. COBRA and Retirement plans MIGHT be considered creditable coverage for Part D.
6. Thinking that Medicare is free after you pay your premiums. Original Medicare has significant deductibles for Parts A and B. Also, original Medicare has no maximum out of pocket costs. If you need expensive treatments like chemotherapy, you are stuck with 20% of the bill with no cap to your expenses.
7. Delaying your enrollment into a Medicare supplement (also called Medigap) plan until after the first 6 months you are 65 and have part B. Medicare Supplement open enrollment (no health questions asked) is only available when you first get Part B. Many Medicare supplement carriers have strict underwriting requirements that will decline your coverage after the first 6 months.
8. Thinking I won’t have a medical emergency and I can put it off for a later date. For most of us, it isn’t a question of if, it’s a matter of when.
9. Not knowing about how the Medicare open enrollment from October 15th to December 7th every year works.
10. Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan that doesn’t include your health care provider or doesn’t include your prescription drugs.
Once again, Your Medicare Store is here to help with all your Medicare questions. We hold free educational events every 2nd Saturday of the month at our location in Mesa on the corner of Southern Ave and Gilbert Rd. Feel free to call or email us your questions as well. Our advice is always free.