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Here’s Big Five Medicare Mistakes to Avoid

People coming close to retirement age often dread the whole idea of applying for Medicare, and it’s understandable. Medicare seems complicated, and any mistakes could be expensive.

One solution for navigating the process of choosing the right Medicare insurance and related plans is to sit down with a Medicare attorney who can help you figure out what you’re eligible for, what plans are available to you and how to figure it all out.

Investopedia’s article, “5 Mistakes People Make When Enrolling in Medicare,” says it’s important to do your research. In many instances, the best place to begin is learning what not to do.

Leaving Your Employment and Forgetting the Medicare Enrollment Deadline. If you’re 65 and still working, you might be receiving health insurance coverage from your employer. If so, you may not have to sign up for Medicare—which allows you to avoid the Part B premiums.

However, if you happen to leave your job, you must enroll within eight months or you’ll have to wait for the next period of enrollment. That could result in you having to go without coverage for several months and perhaps having to pay penalties. Be sure to compare your employer’s plan to Medicare, to see which is better.

Failing to Enroll in Medicare Because You’re Not Getting Benefits From Social Security. If you’re receiving benefits from Social Security, you may already know you’re automatically signed up for Medicare Parts A and B once you turn 65. However, if you’re putting off filing for Social Security benefits until you’re at retirement age or later, you’ll have to enroll in Medicare on your own, and you’ll have to sign up within a seven-month window: three months before the month of your 65th birthday and up to three months after that month. Since Part A is free for most, there’s no reason to wait.

Believing Your Medical Providers Will Always Have Coverage Under Your Medicare Advantage Plan. The Medicare Advantage (MA) plan can cover medical expenses and prescriptions. However, to get the lowest possible co-payments, you might need to use the network of doctors and hospitals on the plan. Make certain that your hospitals, doctors and healthcare providers are covered every year. You can switch your plan from October 15 to December 7 during open enrollment, if you need to.

Going with the Wrong Medigap Policy. Purchasing a Medigap policy within six months of signing up for Part B lets you get any plan available in your area—even if you have a pre-existing medical condition. If you want to switch plans after that, many insurers may reject you or even charge you more because of your condition, so choose a plan wisely.

Failing to Purchase Part D. Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs, and you should look at your options during open enrollment because the costs and coverage may change every year.

Your Medicare plan should work together with your retirement income plan, your estate plan and your overall goals for the retirement lifestyle you want to enjoy.

Reference: Investopedia (February 8, 2018) “5 Mistakes People Make When Enrolling in Medicare”

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