Top 3 Medicare Enrollment Mistakes To Avoid
If you're age 65 or older, and if you've been paying into Medicare and Social Security benefits throughout your working life, then you should be eligible to enroll in Medicare coverage. Specifically, Medicare is a government health care program that can provide you with the coverage you need for medical expenses after you retire. Unfortunately, the world of Medicare can be difficult to navigate--and there are many common mistakes that you'll want to be careful to avoid along the way.
Waiting Too Long to Enroll
One of the biggest mistakes seniors make when it comes to Medicare is waiting too long to enroll; this could mean failing to sign up when they originally become eligible, or not being aware of annual open enrollment deadlines. What many people don't realize is that you don't have to (nor should you) wait until after your 65th birthday to enroll; with most Medicare plans, you can actually enroll anytime in the seven months prior to your birthday. Also, be aware that open enrollment typically runs from October through December each year, so you'll want to make sure you take care of all your enrollment paperwork by then.
Overlooking Additional Coverage
While Medicare may cover a large portion of your medical expenses, it probably won't cover everything. Some procedures and prescription medications, as well as dental or vision services, for example, may still cost you some money out-of-pocket unless you have some kind of supplemental insurance policy in place. With this in mind, you may want to consider shopping around for a supplemental policy for that added peace of mind.
Failing to Enroll an Eligible Spouse
Another very common mistake people make when it comes to enrolling in Medicare is assuming that once they enroll, eligible spouses will also be covered automatically. Unlike a traditional workplace health insurance plan, where spouses can simply be "added" to an existing policy, Medicare requires that spouses be enrolled separately. And of course, there's always a chance that your spouse's health care needs may differ from your own--so you may not even end up wanting to enroll in the same Medicare plan.
Overall, Medicare is a great coverage option for those age 65 and older, but it's important to avoid these common mistakes during the enrollment process. By doing so, you can find the Medicare plan that's right for your needs and make sure you're properly enrolled in no time.