There are a number of common Medicare misconceptions people have when it comes to enrolling in Medicare. Let’s take a look at each one by one to compare fact with fiction.
Myth #1: When I turn 65, I’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare.
False. If, like most people, you are not drawing from Social Security at 65, then you will not automatically be enrolled. You will have to contact the Social Security office to establish an account and enroll in Medicare. If, however, you already have a Social Security account established and are drawing social security when you turn 65, then yes, you will be automatically enrolled.
Myth #2: If I’m 65 and still working, I’m not eligible for Medicare.
False. Everyone when they turn 65, regardless of whether or not they’re still working, is eligible for Medicare. When you turn 65, you have an Initial Enrollment Period in which you are able to enroll in Medicare regardless of your retirement status. This will allow you to enroll in Medicare Part B and supplement plans, which can be helpful even if your job already has prescription drug coverage.
Myth #3: If I don’t take prescription medications, I don’t need a prescription drug coverage plan.
False. If you are eligible for a prescription drug plan and do not already receive prescription drug coverage from another plan like a health policy from your job, you are required by Medicare to have drug coverage regardless of medication needs. If you do not have creditable drug coverage and do not enroll in Medicare Part D, you will incur a penalty fee. The penalty fee builds up over time, so the longer you go without prescription drug coverage, the higher your Part D premium will be for the rest of your life.
Myth #4: A Medicare Advantage Plan is equal to a Medicare Supplement Plan.
False. A Medicare Advantage Plan is very different from a Medicare Supplement Plan. A Medicare Advantage Plan is an alternative to Original Medicare. It may sometimes have extra benefits, like automatically including prescription drug coverage and vision insurance, but it often restricts which hospitals and doctors you can see.
Medicare Supplement Plans, on the other hand, are not an alternative to Medicare. They are an addition to Medicare. Often called Medigap policies, these supplemental policies will cover gaps that Medicare leaves, eliminating your out-of-pocket expenses. This means that instead of paying 20% of your medical care out-of-pocket, you may pay 0% with a supplement policy.
Myth #5: You can only change your supplement plan during Open Enrollment.
False. You can change your supplement plans at any time of year. However, you can only change your drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans during the Annual Enrollment Period.
Myth #6: I can think about Medicare after I retire.
False. If you do not plan ahead, you may end up with a penalty fee and a coverage gap. If you do not get a plan within 63 days of your job’s plan ending, you may incur a penalty. Additionally, your new Medicare plan will start on July 1 of the following year, so you may have a very large gap in coverage between the end of your old plan and the start of your new plan.
As you can see, there are many different misconceptions when it comes to Medicare. Give us a call to avoid making a mistake!