Four Tips to Understanding Medicare That Can Save Money

Understanding Medicare is simple, right? Actually, Medicare can be complicated. However, we provide you with some simple tips that clear up the main misconceptions regarding Medicare coverage.

In a recent Market Watch article, Kristen Gerencher provides insight into these misconceptions that could end up costing you money. Here is a list of these common misconceptions. I have linked to the main article below as well but, here are the bullet points.

1. Medicare works like private health insurance: No. “With Medicare, you can’t be rejected for coverage because you’re too sick, and you won’t face higher premiums if you’re ill. But if you’re a high earner, you’ll pay a premium surcharge for Medicare Part B, which covers doctors’ visits and outpatient services, and Part D, which covers prescription drug costs.”

2. Medicare provides free or cheap health care:  It depends.  “Medicare Part A, which covers hospital stays and services, is premium-free for most people. But that’s where the freebies end. Traditional Medicare involves a matrix of premiums, copays, coinsurance and deductibles. For instance, you’ll have to meet a deductible — $1,132 for 2011 — before Part A coverage kicks in for hospital stays of up to 60 days. For beneficiaries new to Medicare this year, the average premium for Medicare Part B is $115.40 a month. But if you earn more than $85,000 if you’re single, or $170,000 for a married couple filing jointly, you’ll pay more.”

3. Medicare covers everything:  Not Always. “Traditional Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental care, eyeglasses, hearing aids or custodial long-term care.”

4. You can sign up for Medicare at any time: It could cost you! “As soon as regular employer insurance ends, “the person with Medicare who had been relying upon employer coverage needs to rely on Medicare and enroll in Medicare B,” Baker says. “A lot of folks don’t know that.” If you’re unsure when you should sign up for Medicare, ask your human-resources department or call the Social Security Administration. You also can contact your state health insurance assistance program at SHIPtalk.org, call Medicare (1-800-Medicare) or the Medicare Rights Center hotline (1-800-333- 4114).”

If you have questions about this subject, Medigap (Supplement) plan options or retirement questions, please contact HybridCare.  We’ll be happy to assist you and your family.

Article information credit: Kristen Gerencher (MarketWatch) Four Medicare misconceptions that can cost you (Feb. 21, 2011)