Many seniors depend on reliable service from Medicare for their health in retirement. If you’re one of them, it’s important that you’re careful when dealing with Medicare. If you make a mistake, you could possibly end up with expensive health coverage, and even miss out on important benefits. What follows are Medicare mistakes that you should watch out for, and avoid.

Don’t be late to sign up

You become eligible to enroll to Medicare at age 65, but the window for enrollment actually starts three months before the month of your 65th birthday and closes three months after. When you include the month of your birthday, then, you get a full seven months to enroll. If you fail to enroll in these seven months, you can still enroll in the general enrollment period that runs from January through March each year.

Medicare Part A, the part that covers hospital stays, is free for most seniors. Part B, that covers visits to the doctor, and tests, however, costs money to sign up to. When you miss the initial window, signing up can attract a 10% surcharge on your premiums for each year that you put it off. Signing up to Part D for medications can attract its own surcharge, as well. When you sign up during the initial window, you make sure that you don’t pay more than you have to.

Not reconsidering your part D coverage afresh each year

When you subscribe to Medicare Part D for prescription medications, you may feel like simply sticking with your coverage year after year. It’s important each year to reassess what you pay for Part D coverage, however. If you don’t, you could end up paying too much. The formularies for Part D change all the time. Just because you got great coverage for your prescriptions one year, doesn’t mean that you’ll get the same kind of treatment the next. Even if you’re happy with your Part D coverage, then, it would be a mistake to not re-examine your options each year before you pay your premium.

Not signing up for Medicare Advantage

Medicare alone doesn’t help you pay for every kind of medical service that you may need. It doesn’t pay for dental treatment, vision care, hearing care, and care overseas for instance. Spending on these treatments out-of-pocket can be very expensive. It is for this reason that you need to sign up to Medicare Advantage, the plan that helps you pay for treatment in these areas.

Medicare Advantage is an alternative to conventional Medicare. It is required to offer at least as much care as Medicare but usually offers more. If your out-of-pocket costs under conventional Medicare are too high, you need to consider buying Medicare Advantage, instead. Failing to consider Medicare Advantage can turn out to be a serious mistake.

Julio
julio@nwaids.org

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