Tags: Medicare | Medicare | errors

5 Costly Medicare Errors

By    |   Saturday, 17 October 2015 01:45 AM

While Medicare is meant to help Americans save money on health care expenses in their golden years, common errors can end up costing enrollees more than necessary.

Receiving Medicare benefits can be confusing for its 17 million enrollees and the government. A recent Freedom of Information Act lawsuit prompted the government to release Medicare audits that revealed $3.3 million worth of incorrect payouts that affected about 1,000 patients with Medicare Advantage plans, The Center for Public Integrity reported.

In order to minimize the likelihood of Medicare payment issues, it is important for individuals to enroll in Medicare correctly and to be sure they receive their correct benefits. Unfortunately, too many Americans do not enroll into the program without issues.

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Below are five costly Medicare errors:

1. Thinking You Do Not Qualify
Many people fail to enroll in Medicare because they think they have not worked long enough to have earned the benefits. However, typically only about 10 years of work will ensure an individual premium-free enrollment into Part A services, which is primarily hospital insurance coverage. Regardless of how long a person has worked, Americans who are 65 years old or older, can also enroll in Part B, which covers doctors’ services, outpatient care, and medical equipment, and Part D, which covers prescriptions, as long as they are a legal U.S. citizen who has lived in the country for at least five years. Waiting to sign up could tack costly late penalties onto your retirement tab, according to AARP.

2. Forgetting Part B
Failing to enroll in Part B can cause Medicare enrollees penalty fees in the form of potential lifetime surcharges. It is necessary to sign up for Part B during the seven-month initial enrollment period around the time a person turns 65 years old. Only if an individual or their spouse has another work-sponsored health insurance plan can people wait to register for Part B.

3. Forgetting Part D
It is best to enroll in Part D during the open enrollment period that spans from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 every year. Costs fluctuate and could cost more the next year if you forget to enroll in the plan when it is right for you, even if you do not take any medications at the time. It is also easy to forget that Part D plans vary and unless you take the same medications as your spouse, it is usually better to enroll in a different plan than your significant other, according to Kiplinger.

4. Forgetting Medigap
Medigap is supplemental insurance that provides additional coverage for out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles and copays. You must purchase Medigap within six months of enrolling in Part B and once you are 65 years old or older in order to receive Medigap’s full spectrum of benefits.

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5. Blindly Accepting Costs
Some people simply pay the costs Medicare tells them they have incurred. However, depending on a person’s income, they may qualify for a Medicare Savings Program or Extra Help program. Additionally, the surcharge during the year of a person’s retirement can often be lowered depending on their earned income that year, divorce, marriage, or other events.

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While Medicare is meant to help Americans save money on health care expenses in their golden years, common errors can end up costing enrollees more than necessary.
Medicare, errors
Saturday, 17 October 2015 01:45 AM
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