As you approach retirement age, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of Medicare so that you can make the most of this valuable healthcare coverage. Unfortunately, many people make mistakes when it comes to Medicare that can cost them money or leave them with inadequate coverage. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 most common Medicare mistakes to avoid.
- Failing to enroll in Medicare on time
The most common Medicare mistake is failing to enroll in Medicare on time. If you’re turning 65 and not yet receiving Social Security benefits, you need to sign up for Medicare during your initial enrollment period, which begins three months before your birthday month and ends three months after. If you miss this enrollment period, you may face penalties and gaps in coverage.
- Not understanding the different parts of Medicare
Medicare is made up of four parts: Part A, Part B, Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage), and Part D. Each part covers different healthcare services, and it’s important to understand what’s covered under each so that you can choose the right plan for your needs.
- Choosing the wrong Medicare plan
Choosing the wrong Medicare plan is another common mistake. If you have specific healthcare needs, such as a chronic condition or need for prescription drugs, it’s important to choose a plan that covers those needs. Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits beyond what Original Medicare covers, but they may have network restrictions and higher out-of-pocket costs.
- Not reviewing your Medicare coverage annually
Your healthcare needs can change from year to year, so it’s important to review your Medicare coverage annually during the open enrollment period. You may find that you need to switch plans or adjust your coverage to better suit your current needs.
- Not taking advantage of free preventive services
Medicare covers many preventive services, such as annual wellness visits, mammograms, and flu shots, at no cost to you. Not taking advantage of these services can lead to missed opportunities for early detection and prevention of health problems.
- Paying too much for prescription drugs
If you need prescription drugs, it’s important to choose a Medicare plan that covers your medications at the lowest cost possible. You can compare plan options and drug costs using Medicare’s Plan Finder tool.
- Not knowing about Medicare’s Extra Help program
If you have limited income and resources, you may qualify for Medicare’s Extra Help program, which provides financial assistance with prescription drug costs. Many people who qualify for this program are unaware of it, so it’s important to check if you’re eligible.
- Not understanding Medicare’s coverage of skilled nursing facilities
Medicare covers up to 100 days of skilled nursing care following a hospital stay, but many people don’t understand the coverage limitations and requirements. If you need skilled nursing care, it’s important to understand what’s covered and what’s not.
- Not taking advantage of Medicare’s telehealth services
Medicare now covers telehealth services, which allow you to receive healthcare services remotely. Not taking advantage of this option can lead to missed appointments and delays in care.
- Failing to report changes in income or resources
If your income or resources change, it’s important to report those changes to Medicare so that your coverage and costs can be adjusted accordingly. Failing to do so can result in penalties or incorrect billing.
By avoiding these common Medicare mistakes, you can make the most of your healthcare coverage and ensure that you’re getting the care you need. If you’re unsure about any aspect of Medicare, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Medicare counselor or other trusted resource for guidance