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How to Avoid Common Medicare Mistakes

by Jeff Dailey
How to Avoid Common Medicare Mistakes

Medicare, our national social insurance plan for seniors, has been severely disabled since 1964. Compared to individual health insurance plans for those under 65, it is excellent coverage. But you must take an active role in managing your coverage. How to Avoid Common Medicare Mistakes
When you are approaching your 65th birthday, keep the following advice in mind:

  • Enroll on time How to Avoid Common Medicare Mistakes

    In the months prior to turning 65, you are going to be inundated by junk mail. Somewhere in all that, you will also receive a notice from the Social Security Administration that contains your award letter. It lists effective dates for your Part A and Part B, and your Medicare claim number. You will also receive your Medicare card, with the same information on it. Make a copy of the card, and keep these in a safe place.

  • Don’t assume you are enrolled

    Even if you haven’t received a letter or card, don’t assume you are enrolled. Call 1-800-Medicare and get your enrollment information over the phone. Or, you can even enroll online at www.Medicare.gov.

  • Choose a Medicare Supplement plan

    This is particularly important f you spend a lot of time in another home. One of the most common mistakes we hear is seniors choosing an Advantage plan that narrows their choice of providers, when they spend a great deal of the year out of this area. Advantage plans are Regional HMOs. They expect you to choose a primary care physician from their participating group, and that you only see specialists in their referral network.

  • Choose the best plan you can afford

    It is a lot easier to downgrade coverage later than it is to upgrade. For Medicare Supplements, the F plan is the best coverage available. With this supplement plan added to your Medicare plan, you will have almost no out-of-pocket expenses at all and have the largest choices of providers.

  • Medicare Supplements, review plans every year on your birthday

    You have 30 days after your birthday to change your plan with no underwriting, as long you move to a similar or lesser plan. If you want to improve your coverage, you will need to go through medical underwriting.

  • Prescription Drug Plans (Part D)

    Schedule to review your plan each year during open enrollment, October 15 – December 7. Don’t assume that the premiums and co-pays for your medication will stay the same year to year.

If you receive a bill for any medical service, do not pay it until you receive the explanation of benefits from Medicare and/or your Medicare Supplement. It will explain why a charge was not paid. Often, it is as simple as incorrect coding and a simple phone call to the provider can get the bill resubmitted to Medicare. How to Avoid Common Medicare Mistakes

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