Social Security is usually dubbed as the most influential social program in the U.S. because of the income it yields retired workers each month. But you’d be making an error if you didn’t put Medicare, the program aims to provide medical care primarily to seniors aged 65 and up.
According to a report conducted by the Urban Institute, the total lifetime privileges for a median income 65-year-old are expected to be higher from Medicare than Social Security by the year 2055. In other words, the importance of Medicare is increasing, especially on account of the medical inflation rate handily dominating both the national inflation rate and wage rise.
Despite Medicare’s being an integral program for seniors, there’s a lot about it that’s simply mistaken. Unfortunately, if you are unfamiliar with Medicare it could come back to trouble you in your pocketbook. What I value most about what I do is steer
Medicare is free
Arguably one of the largest Medicare misconceptions is that since it’s an extremely important social program, it’s free. In reality, though some aspects of the program may be offered “free,” retirees are expected to cover certain payments on their own.
For instance, Part A, otherwise recognized as hospital insurance, has no remuneration attached if you’ve got 40 work credits throughout your lifetime. However, Medicare Part B (outpatient services) has a standard premium of $121.80 in 2016. Part D, or prescription drug plans, also calls for a monthly premium.
On top of premiums, consumers could be liable for deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. There are no annual out-of-pocket limits with Original Medicare, meaning that retirees are usually responsible for about 20% of their medical charges.
Medicare covers everything
Another popular myth is that Medicare covers all kinds of medical measures and care. This is actually fiction, as there are a number of services Medicare doesn’t offer.
For instance, Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for standard dental, vision, or hearing care. If you’re interested in these services, you may want to look at an all-encompassing Medicare Advantage plan or purchase separate health insurance for these services from a private insurer.
I can enroll anytime I want
Medicare is intended to provide substantial financial support during your golden years, but there are some limitations, including when you’re allowed to enroll.
During your initial enrollment period (IEP), you’re qualified to enroll during the three months preceding your 65th birthday, the month you turn 65, and the three months succeeding the month you turn 65. If you miss this IEP, you’ll have to wait to enroll until the next enrollment period.
For those of you who aren’t within your IEP, the regular enrollment period for Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans is between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7. The reasons these dates are constant from one year to the next has to do with giving private insurers covering Part D time to get their paperwork in place prior to the Jan. 1 coverage start date.
Furthermore, Medicare Advantage members have a chance to dis-enroll and opt into Original Medicare between Jan. 1 and Feb. 14. But note that this is a one-way street since Original Medicare members may not dis-enroll and opt into a Medicare Advantage plan during this time period.
Having poor health will disqualify me from coverage
Prior to the establishment of the Affordable Care Act, health insurance providers would have been able to choose and decide what patients to receive into their network. Following the ACA’s implementation, insurers are required to accept members regardless of their health. The same can be said of Medicare, which can’t reject you because you’re sick or have a pre-existing condition. You could be obliged to pay a surcharge if you make too much money, but your admission into Medicare is guaranteed.
Knowing these myths is very important as you can avoid wasting your time, money and effort. At the same time, doing things the right way will allow you to make the best of what Medicare can offer.