If you are turning 65 or are already 65, there are a number of things that you want to avoid so that you don't completely blow it in your retirement. Let’s get into the top 10 mistakes that are made at 65 and how you can avoid them.
1. Waiting too long to learn about Medicare. When it comes to turning 65 and or enrolling in Medicare, we suggest that you do your homework. Learn about the parts of Medicare, A, B, C, and D Medicare supplement plans, Medicare advantage plans, and Medicare part D prescription drug plans. You should have a pretty good understanding of these plans in these parts and which ones are best for you before you enroll,otherwise you could be stuck in a plan that is not a good fit for you.
2. Not enrolling in Medicare at the right time in turn facing lifetime, late enrollment penalties. You will automatically be enrolled in Medicare at 65 if you are retired and drawing social security, if you are not planning on drawing social security, you'll have to sign up in one of three ways. You can manually enroll if you are on a group or employer plan where Medicare is the primary payer. Medicare is typically the primary payer if your employer has fewer than 20 employees. If Medicare is the primary payer, you will need to enroll during your initial enrollment period. If you are not retired and your employer is the primary payer, then you will have credible coverage through your employer and can enroll at a later date.If you miss these enrollment periods, you'll have to wait for the general enrollment period and you will be penalized with your Medicare part B premium.
3.Buying the most expensive plan. There are people who come into Medicare and just assume that the best plan is the most expensive plan. The best way to evaluate your coverage is to review your health, your providers, hospitals, and medications, with a Medicare advisor, like those here at Strive Medicare.
4. Getting a Medicare plan because it worked great for a friend. Many people hear from a friend that a certain Medicare Supplement plan or Medicare Advantage plan has been really great for them and meets all their needs. When it is time for them to choose a plan, they go with one that their friend or family member had. I'll say it again, the best plan for you depends on your health and your needs. Just because a plan may be great for a few of your friends or loved ones does not mean it's going to meet your specific needs. It is important to understand the plans and to sit down with someone who can help you find a plan that will fit your needs.
5.Failing to understand Medicare supplement standardization. Medigap plans are standardized. This means that companies can choose which Medigap plans they want to sell, but the plans have the same coverage across each company. I'm sure you're asking, "how is that?" well, each Medigap plan is assigned a letter A through N. A plan G for example, with one insurance company has the exact same coverage as a plan G through another insurance company.This is why you need to work with an independent agent that works with multiple companies to get you the best rate.
6. Missing the Medigap open enrollment window. This is not as common as some of the other enrollment periods, and therefore often overlooked. Starting from the first day of the month that you are 65 or older and are enrolled in Medicare part B, you have six months to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan with no health questions asked. Once this six months Medigap open enroll period is gone, it is gone for good. From then on you'll be required to pass medical underwriting to enter these plans. For some, this can be a lifetime mistake costing thousands of dollars in out of pocket expenses each year and every year after retiring.
7.Not staying in network when on a Medicare Advantage plan. If you sign up for a private Medicare Advantage plan, instead of original Medicare, you'll need to use the plan's approved network of providers. This is something you want to be aware of if you are signing up for a private Medicare Advantage plan. If you do not stay in network, you are at risk of incurring out of pocket costs or outright denial to pay for your services. Unlike original Medicare, which you replace when joining a Medicare Advantage program, you must play by a strict set of rules when seeking medical care.
8. Forgetting to plan ahead financially for Medicare. Do you know your adjusted gross income matters? IRMA is something that cannot be ignored and is best discussed with an advisor. On this website you can find the official IRMA chart to help you plan ahead. Depending on your income, you could pay hundreds more per month than others for the exact same coverage.
9. Not realizing that you may qualify for help lowering your Medicare costs. Medicare comes with many expenses. If your income is limited, there are two programs that can reduce costs for those that qualify. The Medicare Savings Program may help you pay some or all of your part B premiums. Extra help is a federal program that can help you get to low or no cost part D prescription drug coverage. Our advisors can help you with evaluating if either of these programs may work for you.
10. Not considering both the Medicare supplement and Medicare advantage plans pros and cons. You have two choices to help pay for the cost that you'll incur out of pocket when going on Medicare. That is either a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is talking with an advisor that does not discuss both plan choices with you.When you're signing up for Medicare, you want to talk to an advisor who is going to explain fully the differences between both plans, so you truly understand both clearly and how they will affect your healthcare needs, lifestyle and budget. Working with an advisor that is independent and works on your behalf is best. One that represents all options, and several different companies is best. We are proud to say our advisors here are all of those things and more because we offer lifetime support and that's not something you can get by going to care directly, or calling the 800 number on the TV.
Here at Strive Medicare we are able to present you with all the different plans in your area. We have licensed advisors who are willing to stick with you as plans change and help you when you need it. If you want to get in touch with one of our advisors you can send us a message by filling out the form on this page. If you have any questions you can also use the form and we will get back to you with an answer.