So whether it’s your first time going through it or you’re a seasoned veteran, you won’t have to wonder whether or not it’s started. There’s always:
You won’t be able to watch the news, go online, open the newspaper, or check Facebook without a not-so-gentle reminder:
Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period is upon us.
For the rest of this post, I’ll refer to this time as “AEP”. That’s what it’s lovingly called in the insurance community. I say ‘lovingly’ with a little bit of a smirk as I write this since as an insurance agent, this is a 10 week sprint.
Now I know how an accountant feels in the weeks leading up to tax day on April 15th.
Many of you have questions about your plan. You wonder if it’s the best one for you for next year. Maybe you want to switch your plan. Or, you simply aren’t sure what you’re supposed to do during this time.
Every year when I talk to my clients or help new clients, they always tell me things they’ve heard about Medicare or their plans that aren’t true. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. Some insurance agents and companies will use this time to take advantage of your uncertainty.
This guide will give you a complete roadmap on everything you should know about AEP. What you can do, should do or shouldn’t do. Let’s start with defining exactly what AEP is...
Medicare is confusing. There’s no doubt about it.
The more confusing something is, the more likely it is that you’re going to miss something. Or ignore something. Or not understand something. Or make the wrong decision.
Some bad Medicare decisions will cost you either a little, or often a lot, of extra money wasted on monthly premiums or out of pocket expenses. A few bad decisions can get you trapped in a plan later on that doesn’t fit your healthcare needs because you’re not healthy enough to qualify for a different one.
No one has a crystal ball. No one knows what tomorrow may bring, or how your health insurance needs might change. So it’s best to make the best decision you can about Medicare when you turn 65.
Here are 7 reasons you’re going to make the wrong decision about Medicare when you turn 65…
Medicare penalties can be expensive.
Most Medicare penalties last the rest of your life.
I know you’ve probably heard a lot of bits of advice about what to do so you don’t get hit with a Medicare penalty. Maybe your sister gave you a heads up. Your golfing buddies could have warned you what not to do.
But, like most things I hear from my clients and other folks I talk to about Medicare, there are a lot of half-truths and misconceptions that people have heard. Sometimes you’ve been told something that’s flat out wrong.
So, let’s clear the air here, and figure out what you really can (and can’t) be penalized for on Medicare. And, we’ll look at what you can do to avoid those penalties. Let’s look at each part of Medicare one at a time…
You like FREE stuff, right?
I know, who doesn’t? That’s another great thing about Medicare is they provide lots of stuff for FREE!
From doctors’ visits, to preventive shots, to health screenings and counseling for specific health issues, Medicare has lots of resources to help you stay healthy and manage whatever health issues you’re treating.
And, they’re all available to you at no charge!
Let’s take a look at this comprehensive list, starting with your first step, the “Welcome to Medicare” visit…
You probably don’t understand insurance, right?
I don’t blame you, insurance can be pretty boring and confusing stuff. Especially health insurance.
Who’s going to sit there and go over your monthly health insurance statement and try to figure it out? There are so many numbers to try and understand and keep track of. And what’s the difference between a copay and co-insurance? Why is the deductible different than the max-out-of-pocket?
Well it’s hard to be comfortable with Medicare or your secondary insurance coverage if you don’t understand it at all.
Let’s take a look at some basic insurance terms and how they apply to Medicare and Medicare plans, so you can get a better grasp on how your plan works...
You get a bill in the mail. It’s MUCH larger than you expected.
You think, “why am I getting billed so much for Medicare?!?"
You’re getting Medicare for the first time, so naturally you’ve been asking some of your friends, siblings, cousins, etc. what to expect. Most of them tell you they pay a little over $100 per month for Medicare and it gets taken right out of their Social Security check.
Well, you’re not drawing Social Security income yet, so you’ve been waiting for a bill in the mail. It comes and it’s for almost over $800!
There are a few things going on here why your bill is so much. Let’s look at them one at a time…
So you’re turning 65 in the next several months. By now you’ve probably got a stack of mail somewhere dedicated to one topic: Medicare.
In addition to your mail stack, you’re probably getting several phone calls each day about your Medicare decision. Now these aren’t the scam calls you have to be on guard against, but instead are from dozens of insurance companies, agents, and other solicitors who know you’re turning 65. You know you have to make a decision about which Medicare plan you pick, but each additional mail piece and phone call seems to make the decision that much more confusing.
Here are 4 reasons to use a professional to keep things simple, unload this burden onto someone else, and get rid of the stress of making this decision: