Unfortunately, there are a lot of Medicare myths and misconceptions floating around out there. It’s important to start educating yourself early so you can make the best choices for your health coverage without any penalties or gaps in coverage.
Medicare Myths: #1
I will be automatically enrolled in Medicare when I turn 65.
Truth: Most people turning 65 will not automatically be enrolled in Medicare. Only those already collecting some form of Social Security (either retirement or disability benefits) at the time they become Medicare-eligible will be automatically enrolled in Medicare A and B.
To enroll, you can contact the Social Security Administration online, in person or by phone. If you would like help enrolling in Medicare or help to make an informed healthcare decision, you can contact us for support.
Medicare Myths: #2
I can enroll in Medicare anytime after I turn 65.
Truth: To avoid late penalties, you need to enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which is a 7-month time frame based on birthdate. It begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65. (For example, if you’re 65th birthday was in the month of May, you would be eligible to enroll February 1 – August 31st.)
If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), there is also a General Enrollment Period from January 1 – March 31st. Unfortunately, most individuals who miss the IEP and sign up during the General Enrollment Period are likely to face late-enrollment penalties.
There is also an Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) for enrolling Medicare Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans. The AEP runs from October 15 to December 7 every year.
Medicare Myths: #3
A Medicare Part D plan (also known as a Prescription Drug Plan) is optional for me.
Truth: That is only partly true. While you have every right to not enroll in a Part D plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, if you then later choose to enroll in one, you will have a penalty tacked onto your Part D Premium for as long as you are enrolled.
Part D Plans can be purchased as a standalone plan that supplements Original Medicare, OR as part of a Part C plan (also known as a Medicare Advantage Plan). You may still be eligible to enroll without a penalty.
Medicare Myths: #4
Medicare is free.
Truth: True, most people get Medicare Part A with no premium (as long as they have worked at least 10 years and paid Medicare taxes), however, there is usually an annual deductible. Medicare Part B also has an annual deductible, and Medicare Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans may also be an additional cost. (lead to those corresponding pages)
To get help finding the lowest cost option for your personal healthcare needs, contact us for support.
Medicare Myths: #5
Medicare Advantage is better than Original Medicare.
Truth: There are many factors that would determine which option is better for you. Some of these include:
- Whether you take regular prescription drugs
- If you want to cap your out of pocket spending
- If you want coverage for dental and vision
- If you want more flexibility in doctors and specialists
- If you’re still covered by your employer
You can book a free consultation with us to look over your situation to find the best option for your needs.