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Medicare Mistakes to Avoid

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

1. 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 for your plan. Costs and coverage change from year to year. During the dates of October 15th and December 7th, be sure to review your plan to make sure 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.

2.  Forgetting that you can Sign up for Medicare at age 65. If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you will 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 3 months 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 enroll!

3.  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 time-frame, Medigap insurers cannot deny you coverage or charge higher premiums on your current health or pre-existing conditions. This six-month window is a one-time opportunity. One you will not want to miss!

4.  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 when you are eligible, 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 enrolled in Part B but were not.

5.  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! Medicare Advantage Plans tend to cost less, but they have other restriction 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 Medicare Plan

6.   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 the services you need will be covered, or if any pharmacy changes are being made. Also look at co-payments, deductibles, and co-insurance amounts. Small changes could add up to many dollars over the course of a year!

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