There are many reasons that Medicare has traps. The main issues are that it is large, complex, highly regulated and different from other healthcare insurance that people are used to. We are going to highlight five of the major traps that people fall into when buying Medicare insurance. We will also provide solutions to these traps so that you do not have to fall into them!
1.) Trying to “go it alone” when buying Medicare insurance.
About 6 months before you turn 65 you will receive a massive amount of marketing material from companies that want to sell you Medicare. They will mail you stuff, bombard your inbox and even call your phone. What to do? Most people usually get online and try and research for themselves. However they usually find information from more companies that are trying to put down their competition and sell you their product. There is a massive amount of information available on Medicare, some true, some false but most of it is just confusing.
Buy what if you could find a local, independent agent (not exclusive to any one company) that would be able to explain each part of Medicare to you, answer your questions and advise you based on your specific situation? And what if it was free? That is exactly what an independent broker or agent will do! It is what we do for our clients.
Not all agents are created equal though. We really recommend that you find an agent local to you state that has great online reviews! If you are in Georgia, we are the best in the business and our clients agree!
2.) Paying too much for Medicare Part B.
There are two main situations in which people pay too much for Medicare Part B.
First, many people pay $148.50 a month or more for Medicare Part B when they are on a qualifying group health insurance plan. If you are staying on a qualifying group health insurance plan with more than 20 employees, you can delay signing up for Medicare Part B until after you leave the company where you are getting group health insurance. In this instance, you could be paying $0 instead of hundreds of dollars a month! Note you do still need to sign up for Medicare Part A.
Second, it is common for people to pay too much for their Medicare Part B Premiums if they have recently retired. Part B premiums are based off of a 24 month look back at your income. If you have recently retired then your income is likely much lower than it was a few years ago. This can cause your Part B payment to be much higher than it should be. You can file a appeal with Social Security that can get your Part B cost adjusted. We can walk you through how to do this.
3.) Waiting too late to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B.
Medicare information abounds and there are many people out there that will help you with Medicare. But many times people wait until they are about to turn 65 or retire to sign up for Medicare Parts A and/or B. This can work fine IF you do not run into any problems. If there is a problem with your application it can delay you getting onto Medicare and getting coverage started. Most importantly, it could leave you with gaps in insurance coverage.
An easy way to prevent this is to contact us 3-4 months before you turn 65 or retire! We can make sure everything is submitted with plenty of time to spare for problems that might arise.
4.) Not understanding how Medicare and Employer Group Health Insurance interact.
We have written a full post about this topic HERE. Some of the more confusing aspects have to do with what happens when someone turns 65 while on their spouse’s employer coverage. Do they sign up for Medicare now or can they delay. Whether a person can delay signing up for Medicare, without incurring a penalty, depends on whether or not you have other health insurance coverage that is considered Creditable Coverage by the Medicare rules.
Make sure to check out our full article for more info on Medicare and Group Health Insurance!
5.) Not understanding how VA Health Care and Medicare interact.
What happens if you have VA Health coverage but turn 65 and qualify for Medicare? The VA will encourage you to get Medicare but you do not have to. If you only use VA doctors and have no interest in seeing doctors outside of the VA, you might not need to get Medicare. However if you want more options for care, Medicare might make sense for you. There is some good information on the VA.gov website that will help you make your decision on whether to sign up for Medicare or not:
https://www.va.gov/health-care/about-va-health-benefits/va-health-care-and-other-insurance/ If you scroll down on that page there is a helpful section titled: More about how VA health care works with Medicare and other insurance. Click the first 3 + signs for some information. You can also contact us and tell us your specific situation! We can help you make an informed decision.
These are just a few of the traps that people can fall into with Medicare. The most important take away is that you ought to use the services of a local agency like Georgia Medicare Insurance. We can help you tackle any problems that Medicare can throw your way.