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5 Mistakes People Make With Medicare Coverage

senior-couples-confusedThe annual Medicare open-enrollment period has begun, and there’s plenty of room for mistakes when choosing among hundreds of policies.

Consumers could end up paying too much for a plan that doesn’t cover what they need, according to the National Council on Aging. The nonprofit advocacy group in Washington offers guidance on its MyMedicareMatters website and has created a list of the five biggest mistakes people make when enrolling:

1. Missing the date. The initial enrollment period is based on your 65th birthday. If you or your spouse is still working on your 65th birthday and you have qualifying company health insurance, you can delay enrolling in Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient services and medical supplies, without penalty. Once you stop working and/or the company insurance ends, you have a special eight-month enrollment period in which to sign up for Part B. But if you miss the window, you pay a penalty on future Part B premiums.

2. Believing Medicare supplement plans and Medicare Advantage are the same thing. Original Medicare is a government fee-for-service program that people typically supplement with a private Medicare supplement policy (as well as a Medicare Part D policy for prescription drugs). The supplement policy can cover out-of-pocket costs and doesn’t require authorization to see specialists. By contrast, a Medicare Advantage plan is private insurance that takes the place of original Medicare and works more like group insurance. It can cover programs original Medicare doesn’t cover, such as vision or wellness visits, but can limit your choice of doctors and hospitals.

3. Getting overwhelmed and winging it. With so many different plans to choose among, some people toss up their arms and just guess at enrollment. This is where AMAC can really help you. We break the process down, offer you that plan that is most suited for your specific needs based on information you have provided, and we assist with the entire enrollment, including the final signature process. At AMAC, you are assigned one agent that you will have contact information for. You can call your agent at any time after enrollment if you have questions about your coverage with us.

4. Not applying for Extra Help. There are billions of dollars available to help people with modest retirement incomes pay for prescriptions, premiums, deductibles and coinsurance.

5. Failing to re-evaluate your coverage every year. Doctors and medications covered one year might not be covered the next year. Confirm cost, copays, covered providers and drug coverage to make sure your plan stays on track.

 

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Diana Williams

My 65th birthday looms ahead: Jan. 13, 2016. I have Aetna Insurance through the Texas Retired Teachers’ Association, which I can keep for a secondary insurance (I think that term is correct here). I know if I cancel it to take something like United Health Care or Humana, I cannot go back to Aetna. My parents had great coverage with their supplemental United Health Care through AARP, but I really dislike AARP’s politics. I have a membership with them for discounts on vacations, etc; is AMAC as well accepted? If I join AMAC, is the Medicare supplement through you as good as AARP UHCare? Do I even NEED something besides Aetna? From reading your pages here, it looks like Medicare Advantage is the best way to go with them–I THINK! It’s so confusing.

william

Turned 68 last october still working dropped employer united healthcare Dec 31 signed up with humanna dec 15 for part b so coverage could take affect, been a nght mare, not happy w/humanna at all had to pay out of pocket they keep insisting i still havr unhc

Chantal and Gil. Pique

We needed to Dis-enroll from Kaiser Permanente, they are almost killing us with proscriptions that didn’t work the DR’s are have a very dirty hair and used DR power grab, many problems with Kaiser Permanente system It must be control by Obama care too start to believing age after 70’s Obama’s care to killing them? After disenroll from KP, would like to looking for an New Enroll with the Homeopathy DR’s in our area, Sanger, CA 93657, please help!

William Hack

I think most Americans finally realize that Obama has cheated us again with his so called affordable care plan. My Medicare deduction from social security is increasing $75.00 per month, with no increase in my SS benefit, leaving us with even less money per month than last year. Obama paid for his socialized medicine in part by cutting senior benefits by 50%. If you want or have a Medicare Advantage plan, Part C your benefits are cut drastically this year too. My wife, being younger than me needs insurance through Obama`s “marketplace” and is costing us 150% more in 2016. American seniors are looking at less medical care, less doctors and higher costs because of Obama, his socialist Democrats and do nothing Republicans, giving us seniors, who paid for Medicare every paycheck while working no choice but to either cut medical care or reduce something else. The only good thing… Read more »

Pam

Hi from a total novice. I will be 65 in March of 2016, am retired, and I am just now checking into Medicare and the supplemental plans. I am utterly clueless at this time, and it does feel overwhelming. I refused to have Obamacare, so I have been completely uninsured since April of 2010. I very rarely visit my doctor, except when I MUST have new lab work in order to continue my prescriptions. (Last visit cost me $1,131 which I am still paying off.) Not having had any medical, dental or vision visits, I know I need dental and vision included. At this particular time, my pharmacy has a fantastic plan, and the cost of my (maintenance) meds is extremely low. The glitch is that we will probably move to another state before the end of this year. I don’t want to pay for meds if I can continue… Read more »

Lawrence Rayburn Jr.

I want to know WHY I should have to pay $48/month OVER AND ABOVE the $115/month that is taken out of my SS check
automatically each month, for one of the ‘supplemental insurance’ outfits to administer the Medicare coverage I am already
paying for???

I’m 66 years old, a Vietnam veteran with Agent Orange and Lymphatic Filariasis complications, and had not used Medicare
in the past 6 years…..yet I’m getting a bill from United Healthcare for $1016 for past due monthly charges……and when I recently
went to a Tropical Disease specialist on Medicare and the Veterans Choice card……they didn’t pay a dime….and the one shot
prescription cost $500 to fill…out of my pocket.

My opinion is that Medicare, the ‘supplemental insurances, and AMAC SUCK at taking care of seniors, especially veterans.

Katie Hoyl

Appreciate your input on the following: turn 65 in 6/2015 – I work full time for a County in the State of Texas. My employer pays for my insurance which is thru Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Question: do have have to enroll in Medicare if I am working & if so, which one and why? Thank u for your response.

Arvilla

Greetings, Do trust that I realize I am remiss in waiting until this last day of open enrollment for Medicare changes, but the short justification is that life (husband’s recent accident) got in the way. Anyway, in advance my sincere thanks for your timely response and to make this inquiry as straightforward as possible, please note the following points that illuminate a monthly scenario I sure would like to remove myself from: 1. I have been on Original Medicare, Parts A & B, since 2011 and 2012 respectively. 2. In 2012, and to avoid later potential of penalty, I joined United Healthcare’s AARP Preferred Plan for the Part D Prescription Drug coverage…even though I did not then…nor do I now use prescription drugs. Thus, the current monthly payment ($47.70) is like a ‘tax’ for me with NO benefit…other then as I say…to avoid the ‘looming threat’ of a Medicare penalty… Read more »

Dane Pickard

I am going to retire (Yippee!!) effect 10/1/16 however, my wife who is already retired will turn 65 on 5/8/16. She is currently covered under my employer medical plan up to my retirement. Should she go ahead and enroll in Medicare at 65 or wait until I retire and both of us enroll in to Medicare?

Loren Hardaway

Just in the process of selecting a supplemental insurance. Does anyone have information on Aetna Health and Life. Their premium for Plan F is a lot lower than BCBS. Are they reliable?