If your retirement years are on the horizon and you’re making plans for the future, Medicare is more than likely going to be a part of those plans. Not only do you need to figure out when to enroll but also what plan to enroll in and what coverage will be best for you. In order to do that correctly, and make as few mistakes as possible, we put together a list of some of the most common mistakes so that you’ll know about them and, obviously, be able to avoid them. Enjoy.
Mistake #1: Not reviewing your Part D options every year.
From October 15 through December 7 every year, open enrollment for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage begins, and that’s the time that you should review all of your options because they can change from year to year. If you choose the wrong plan you’ll pay more premiums and the cost of your drugs might increase, or you might be forced to go to specific pharmacies in order to get the lowest rates. If you’ve been prescribed any kind of new medications, or the drugs you’re taking have gotten a generic brand, signing up for a different plan might be a great idea.
Mistake #2: Assuming that your doctor, and any other health providers you visit, will continue to be covered by your Medicare Advantage plan.
Using the Medicare Advantage Plan covers both your medical expenses and prescription drugs, but usually means that the doctors and hospitals you use need to be in their network to get the lowest copayments. In fact, some plans will only cover for out-of-network providers if you are involved in an emergency situation. Assuming that your health providers will still continue to be covered in your plan every year is a mistake that many consumers make. If they’re not, you might need to change plans and make sure that, for the coming year, you’re still covered.
Mistake #3: Choosing the same Part D plan that your spouse has.
It’s the very rare couple that takes the same medications and, since Medicare Part D doesn’t get spousal discounts, choosing the same plan that your spouse has might mean paying more for the drugs that you need. It would behoove you to look at the specific coverage for specific drugs, making sure that you’re getting the best price possible. By the way, you can use the Medicare Plan Finder to find the out-of-pocket costs for each drug you take.
Mistake #4: Picking the wrong Medigap plan after you first enroll.
If, six months after enrolling in Medicare Part B, you buy a Medicare supplement plan, even if you have a pre-existing medical condition you can still get any plan in your area. After that however you can be rejected, or charged more because of your health, by the insurers in most states. There are some states that will let you switch regardless of what your health happens to be, and others that will also let you switch even if you don’t have a new medical exam. You can find out more on Medicare.gov.
Mistake #5: Not signing up for Medicare when you hit 65.
If you haven’t started receiving your Social Security benefits yet, but you have turned 65, you can still sign up for Medicare but have to do it yourself because it won’t be automatic. In fact, from three months before you turn 65 until three months after, you can sign up for Medicare online.