Here are a few common Medicare mistakes to watch out for:
Mistake #1: Missing Deadlines
There are specific windows of time when you can sign up for Medicare coverage. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is missing your initial enrollment period. This window of time is specific to you, based on your birthday. Your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period happens:
- Starting three months preceding your 65th birthday month
- The period covers the full month that your 65th birthday falls
- Ending three months after your 65th birthday and the month it happens
For example, if you turn 65 in August, you have from May to November that year to enroll.
Mistake #2: Medicare Penalties
If you miss the Medicare Initial Enrollment Period, you have the risk of a gap in insurance coverage, and it will result in higher monthly premiums – possibly for the rest of your life. In addition, the longer you wait to sign up, the higher these penalties will be.
Mistake #3: Misunderstanding Medicare Coverage
As you are researching Medicare plans, it might be confusing to see many references to Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D. One mistake is that people sign up for Original Medicare, which includes Parts A & B but don’t realize there are gaps in their insurance coverage. For example, you need to pay extra for Medicare Part D through a private insurance company if you want prescription coverage.
Also, Medicare Part C offers other supplemental coverage for healthcare-related services that aren’t included in Parts A and B, such as dental and vision services.
Mistake #4: Medicare for Family Members
Don’t assume that signing up for Medicare coverage means you can also access healthcare coverage for family members. Medicare differs from employer-based coverage because it applies to individuals, not families. In addition, for a spouse to receive Medicare coverage, they must have at least 10 years of paying into the system in the workforce to qualify for Part A.
If you are turning 65 and your spouse is not, they will need healthcare coverage elsewhere. Options include private policies through the Health Insurance Marketplace, a COBRA plan, or an employer plan.
Comparing Your Options for Medicare Coverage
If you want to avoid these mistakes when choosing the right Medicare plan, call us at Active Medicare Solutions. We offer personalized insurance solutions for retirees: (804) 874-6000.