Thousands of people every year turn 65 years old and almost instantly become overwhelmed with the intricate world of Medicare. It seems as though the government expects individuals to know what they are doing simply by reading a few brochures that they receive in the mail. Unfortunately, most people have been trained by salesmen and credit card companies that mail is not to be read. Many people fail to read the instructions of how to sign up for medicare, some paying penalties for years afterwards as a consequence. Save yourself from making some of the most common mistakes, namely:
Not Signing Up In Time. Unfortunately, some people begin to think about signing up for parts A and B of medicare around the week of their 65th birthday, which reduces their signing up time by half. According to medicare.gov, all individuals have a 7 month window in which to sign up; 3 months before their 65th birthday, the month of their 65th birthday, and the 3 months following their birthday. By signing up in advance, you can save yourself the stress of trying to figure out which plan you need last minute. People are often surprised how difficult it can be to pick out a plan, and it can take quite a bit of time to research. Save yourself the fear of penalties and just sign up early.
Signing Up When You Don't Need the Coverage. Sometimes people become confused with what the federal government means by the term "creditable coverage." Creditable coverage is coverage that is as good as the coverage offered to you by medicare. If you are still working past 65, or covered by a spouse, chances are that you have creditable coverage and do not need to sign up for Medicare Part B. Part A is free if you have worked for over 40 quarters in your life, or 10 years. Since it is usually free, there is no harm in signing up, even if you have creditable coverage elsewhere.
Not Checking With Your Current Doctor. Apparently people are unaware that not all medicare health care plans are created equal. Not every doctor accepts every plan. Some people have been very surprised by switching to medicare and then visiting their normal doctor, only to discover that they are no longer covered. This can be quite distressing if you have been seeing the same doctor for 20 years. Make sure that your doctor accepts the plan you are thinking about before you sign on the dotted line.
For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Senior Advisors.