How to Avoid Two Major Mistakes During Medicare Enrollment

Medicare coverage doesn’t have to be out of reach for retirees. Individuals looking to enroll in Medicare can benefit significantly from this type of healthcare coverage, especially if they were uninsured before retirement. Whether you are the type of person who likes keeping tabs on the Market yearly, the process of Medicare enrollment has never been more straightforward. However, as with any enrollment process, there are a few significant missteps you should work to avoid if you are looking for a smooth transition process with the highest level of benefit.

Enrolling at the appropriate time is crucial for any healthcare coverage, and Medicare is no exception. So, how would you go about calculating your enrollment window? It’s simple: your window begins three months before your birth month (starting at age 65) and extends three full months after for a full seven-month opportunity. Once you begin receiving Social Security at 65, you will automatically enroll in Components A and Half B, also known as Unique Medicare. Should you choose to work for your employer past the age of 65 (with fewer than 20 employees), you can enroll in Medicare Half A on your own. While you have the option of enrolling into Half B, ultimately, you should speak with a representative from your employer to see whether you should delay enrollment. If you work for a company employing more than 20 employees, you must enroll within eight months of retirement to avoid protection gaps and various penalties.

Failing to take on additional plans for extra coverage is another mistake that could end up costing you in the long run. For example, you will pay higher Medicare premiums by not enrolling in a Part D prescription plan (also known as PDP). Even if you aren’t currently using any prescription drugs, failing to register in Part D will be stuck paying higher Medicare premiums regardless of whether you enroll in Part D later. Additional protection plans will also benefit your Medicare coverage long term, including Medigap plans, MA, and Half C plans. Medigap bridges the gap caused by Components A and B as an add-on, whereas MA and Half C are provided through non-public insurers to strengthen the Components A and B features.

By working to avoid these two major Medicare mistakes, you will be well on your way to enjoying affordable coverage well into your golden years. However, the journey toward Medicare enrollment can feel uncertain and confusing. As the costs associated with healthcare continue to rise for seniors across the country, it pays to take advantage of free Medicare and Medicaid counseling. If you need help navigating the world of Medicare, your local State Health Insurance Assistant Program (SHIP) can answer your questions and help you get started today.

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I grew up in Dubuque, Iowa, where I learned the concepts of hard work and the value of a dollar. I spent years in Boy Scouts and achieved the honor of Eagle Scout. I graduated from Iowa State University and moved to Chicago and spent a few years managing restaurants. I then started working in financial services and insurance helping families prepare for the high cost of college for their children. After spending years in the insurance industry, I moved to Arizona and started working with Federal Employees offing education and options on their benefits. I became a Financial Advisor / Fiduciary to further help people properly plan for the future. I enjoy cooking and traveling in my free time.

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