Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Don't Make These Common Medicare Mistakes

You are turning 65. For most of your life your health insurance came from an employer group health plan. The next 20 years or so will be different. Why?

You will be enrolling in MEDICARE.

If you are a year away from your 65th birthday you are already being bombarded with junk mail and robocalls from folks who want to "help" you navigate the Medicare maze.

Be careful! That first step and be a doozy.

All your friends are giving advice. "You need what I have. No premiums. Small copay's. Free annual exam. Dental, vision and even a gym membership."

"Did I mention there is no premium to pay?"

Others will tell you to stick with tried and true original Medicare with the red, white and blue card. You can never go wrong with a plan that has been around over 50 years.

Whatever you do, CHOOSE WISELY. The decision you make could be one you will have to live with for a long time. Not everyone will have an option to change and many can only change plans when Medicare allows you to do so.

Let me offer a few words of advice.

Medicare is not as simple as it looks. There are a lot of moving parts.

Medicare Part D looks like a Rube Goldberg contraption. Just when you think you have figured it out things change. New rules. New preferred pharmacy's. New copay's.

And then there is the mystical Donut Hole. It should be called the Black Hole. The few people that figured it out have never been seen again.

Medicare Annual Open Enrollment

But wait! There is always the annual Open Enrollment. I can take a Mulligan and start over. I don't have to keep the plan I bought. Open Enrollment is like a Get Out of Jail Free card.

Hold on there Skippy. Not so fast. Open Enrollment is by invitation only. Some folks can attend. Some can't.

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, come on in. You can window shop for a new plan or keep the one you have. Changing plans is easy. 


Just make sure you can keep your doctors and all your medications are covered. If the plan you want is an HMO be especially certain you understand the rules. This isn't Kansas anymore.

If you have a stand alone Part D plan, you are also invited to the annual Open Enrollment. Change plans or keep what you have. Don't forget to compare costs and preferred pharmacy's against your EXISTING plan before taking the leap.

Medicare Supplement Plans Open Enrollment

If you currently have a Medicare supplement plan and want to TRADE IT IN for one of those shiny no premium Advantage plans, you can join the party.

There are NO HEALTH QUESTIONS. Come one, come all. In the past ESRD patients were excluded but that will change in 2021.

But if you LIKE having a Medigap plan, but want to change to a different plan, you will have to get in a different line. Changing supplement plans means proving you are healthy enough to be accepted by a new Medigap carrier. If you are in good health, you can change plans. If not you stay where you are.

Even if you ARE healthy, Open Enrollment is the WORST time to change plans. You can change ANYTIME during the year. Pick any time OTHER THAN October, November or December.

You have Medicare questions, I have answers. Take advantage of my "offer you can't refuse".


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