Five Mistakes Retirees Make When Turning 65
1. The most common mistake made by retirees who are new to Medicare is purchasing the incorrect prescription drug plan. These plans have many moving parts, and are not easily understood. Many factors need to be considered before enrolling including the monthly premium paid for the plan, whether or not the plan has a deductible, the co-payments for your prescriptions covered under the plan, and the Medicare star rating. The quickest way to navigate your options is to visit Medicare.gov and use their “plan finder”.
2. People are always looking to save a buck, but everyone knows… you get what you pay for. Retirees who purchase free Medicare Advantage HMO plans because they are cheap often cry when they find out they cannot visit their doctors, and have co-payments for almost all medical services. Medicare Advantage plans can be a great choice, but you have to be sure your doctors and hospitals participate in their network.
3. At times, we all take the easy way out. Purchasing a Medicare Supplement Plan from a well-known company without doing your research is just that. Buying insurance from AARP or Blue Cross is the easy option, but not necessarily the best. Medicare supplemental insurance plans are standardized by Medicare, which means every company offers the same plans with the same benefits. Price is what makes the difference, and it literally pays to shop.
4. It’s hard to imagine purchasing a prescription drug plan is the right thing to do if you don’t take and prescription drugs. However, due to the penalty imposed on those who do not purchase a plan and the possibility you will take some sort of prescription drug over the course of the calendar year, buying a Medicare Part D plan is a no-brainer. Simply stated… if you don’t take any prescriptions it is best to avoid penalties and purchase the plan with the lowest monthly premium.
5. Procrastinators beware… do not miss your guaranteed issue period! If you miss your guaranteed issue period you may not be able to enroll in any plan and could be left with no health insurance or prescription coverage until the following January. For those who live in rural areas where medicare advantage plans are not offered, missing your guaranteed issue period can mean you will never be able to purchase a Medicare supplement plan.