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Debunking the Myths about Medicare

A survey conducted by the Nationwide Retirement Insitute in joint collaboration with The Harris Poll shows that about 86% of aged Americans are either already enrolled or planning to seek the services of Medicare. In their findings, an estimated 72% of individuals confessed to now knowing exactly how the program works, a vast majority, however, did confess to being curious about the workings of the initiative.

While it’s perfectly understandable that there may be numerous underlying reasons as to why many people are not that proficient with how Medicare works, it may prove to be a really expensive mistake not acquainting oneself with what the healthcare program espouses.Why? Because healthcare eats a big chunk of the amounts Americans spend during their grey years.

As per Fidelity Investments, the average, a 65-year-old couple will use about $280,000 on healthcare alone.

Not having the basic understanding on how Medicare works may put you at a disadvantage since you’ll be forced to spend much more than is necessary. In light of this, it’s best that you’re adequately informed about some of the myths that exist with regards to Medicare.

All Expenses are Covered with Medicare

In a way, Medicare can be considered as a comprehensive medical coverage plan. The fact that Medicare covers numerous facets of the health profession like X-rays, lab tests, hospital visits, and nursing care, means that it’s one of the standout initiatives ever launched.

However, many people get confused with just how extensive the cover is. In truth, there are still some services that need to be personally sorted out by patients or by friends and family of the sick. Since there are Parts A and B of Medicare, getting a good distinction of the categories is quite important.

Typically, Medicare handles 80% of all medical care offered by Part B. This means that the onus falls on you to take care of the remaining 20%. At the same time, certain other services like eye exams, dental care, and hearing tests are not covered at all.

For prescription drug coverage, patients need to put their names down for Medicare Part D enrollment.


Free Coverage

As revealed by Nationwide’s survey, about 50% of Americans wrongly believe that one doesn’t have to pay a cent in order to access Medicare services. While the program is quite extensive in its reach, there are still a couple of payments that need to be cleared by patients before the green light is given for a go ahead. Expenses like deductibles, premiums, and coinsurance still need to be sorted out by individuals, not by Medicare.

Enrolment Window is Always Open

Medicare does give the fantastic option of numerous sign-up opportunities, however, this should be translated to mean that one can simply enroll a the time of their choosing. Those joining the Medicare program for the first time need to time themselves about 3 months before they hit 65 years and 3 months after celebrating their 65th birthday, to benefit from the services.

There are specialized enrolment periods like during changes in family status, and when those aged 65 and above lose their employer coverage while on the job. In such instances, you are free to join Medicare Parts A and B. Alternatively, you can always sign up for the Advantage Plan and receive some quality healthcare.

You stand to reap the full rewards of Medicare if you sign up in good time.

Those who qualify for Plan D can still qualify for special enrollment. Incidences like shifting to a new region where Medicare is not available or if your existing health plan stops being active in your region of residency.

During such times, you have the leeway to enroll later on during the general enrollment period or during the open enrollment occasion. Usually, the general enrollment period lies between January 1st and March 31st. If you’d like to qualify for Medicare, it’s best to take advantage of this provision and sign up for Medicare Parts A and B.

The Basics

On the other hand, the open enrolment period allows for a greater degree of flexibility. With dates running from October 15-December 7, there’s room to transition from the Advantage Plan to the original Medicare and vice-versa.

Failure to enroll during these windows means that you’ll be forced to pay penalties when you decide the time’s right for you to sign up. The penalty rate increments are quite steep. Especially when you consider that a 10% fee is charged on a monthly basis for every year after you achieved Medicare coverage but failed to sign up.

As confusing as Medicare is, it’s best to know some of the facts about the program since you could end up making massive savings in the end. A little interest is all it takes, you don’t necessarily have to be a health guru to be conversant with the program in order to benefit.

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