While Medicare helps pay for your health care expenses, it has many guidelines and rules, making it confusing now and then. It turns out that Medicare mistakes are most common in a Medicare member’s first year of coverage. Instead of learning the hard way, you can stay in front of things you shouldn’t do to avoid the common Medicare errors altogether. Here are the 3 costly Medicare mistakes to avoid if you want to make the best decision for your healthcare needs.
Delaying Medicare enrollment is one of the most expensive and common Medicare mistakes you can make. As you approach 65, you will want to enroll for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This is a 7-month period that starts 3 months before your 65th birthday and extends through the 3 months following your 65th birthday month. You may have to pay late Medicare enrollment penalties for the rest of your life for the failure to sign up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period.
However, it is possible to delay your enrollment if you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). If you fail to enroll during the SEP, you may also incur late fees.
Failing to read your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) or Evidence of Coverage (EOC) can be costly. These are important documents that Medicare beneficiaries receive in the mail in September if they are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. They state the changes your plan will make to its coverage and cost for the coming year.
Once you have reviewed these documents, you can make the necessary changes during the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 - December 7). Suppose you are not satisfied with your plan’s changes but fail to use the Annual Enrollment Period to your advantage. In that case, you can be doing more harm than good as you will be sticking with a plan that may cost more and no longer provide the coverage you need.
If you opt for the Medicare Advantage plan, you may be required to use the plan’s network of hospitals and doctors to get coverage for your medical expenses. It is vital to make sure your hospitals, doctors, and other providers are covered in your plan annually. You won’t only pay more for seeking healthcare outside of your plan’s networks; all the paperwork will also be your responsibility.
Contact iHealthcare Direct to speak with a licensed and experienced Medicare agent to help address your concerns and find a Medicare plan that fits your coverage and budget needs.