Avoid These Common Medicare Mistakes
Choosing the appropriate Medicare plan can be one of the most important decisions a senior citizen will make. Evaluating all the available options and determining how to move forward can cause undue stress for many. By recognizing the following common mistakes made during the Medicare application process, seniors can be confident in deciding which option is right for them.
Individuals become eligible to enroll in the program during their Initial Enrollment Period (“IEP”) which begins three months prior to the start of their 65th birthday month until three months after their birthday. While seniors receiving Social Security benefits at least four months prior to their 65th birthday generally are auto-enrolled in Medicare, many seniors need to enroll themselves.
When a senior fails to enroll during the IEP, they must wait until Medicare’s general enrollment period which takes place from January 1 through March 31 of each year. Seniors who enroll late will not receive Medicare coverage until July of that year. This can result in months with no coverage and higher monthly premiums for Medicare Part B.
Other working seniors fail to take advantage of Medicare’s Special Enrollment Period (“SEP”). Individuals over 65 who stop working and subsequently lose health coverage or whose spouse’s insurance ends can enroll in Medicare immediately without facing any late enrollment penalties. The SEP runs for a period of eight months after an individual loses their job-based insurance.
Enrolling in the wrong Medicare option also can have costly consequences for seniors. Seniors can choose to enroll in several plans under the original Medicare program or the Medicare Advantage program. Different coverage is available under these programs and out of pocket costs also vary.
Enrollees always should confirm the health care network of their chosen plan includes their health care providers. Costs can be significantly higher for individuals who use out-of-network medical providers and facilities. Other seniors might mistakenly choose a plan that does not provide the adequate prescription drug coverage for their health conditions. Individuals enrolling in Medicare should examine the list of network providers and covered drugs for all plan options closely to determine which program works best for them given their unique medical and financial needs.
Not Recognizing Out of Pocket Costs
Many seniors enrolled in Medicare mistakenly believe all their medical costs will be covered. This is simply not true. Seniors enrolled in Medicare will face out-of-pocket costs for premiums, deductibles, and co-payments which vary according to the type of Medicare program in which they are enrolled.
By blinding relying on Medicare to cover all health care expenses, seniors may find themselves financially unable to receive the treatments they need. All Medicare enrollees should investigate whether a supplemental health insurance policy, also called a Medigap policy, is necessary to cover many out-of-pocket costs that Medicare will not pay. Seniors enrolled in Medicare should be aware of the proper Medigap enrollment period to avoid being denied coverage for preexisting conditions.
Brooklyn Elder Law Attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Provide Assistance to Medicare Patients and Their Families
Navigating the complexities of the Medicare system can be overwhelming for many families. At Korsinsky & Klein, LLP, our experienced Brooklyn elder law attorneys are here to help guide you through the process. With offices conveniently located in Brooklyn, New York and Lakewood, New Jersey, we are proud to serve seniors and their families throughout Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York. To schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Brooklyn elder law attorney today, call us at 212-495-8133 or contact us online.