And some tips on how to take personal control of your Medicare & Healthcare Freedoms
Bad Medicare advice is everywhere! You won’t hear it said often, but not everybody needs help with their Medicare. Because no matter how badly some people mess up their coverage, they apparently have the millions of dollars they need to pay whatever bill comes their way.
But for those of us in the real world, Medicare is the kind of thing that you don’t want to dive into totally blind. That’s why Medicare experts like us exist … to teach our friends and clients how to make the best decisions for themselves.
Unfortunately, not everybody has your best interests in mind, and as a result. Bad Medicare advice is everywhere.
The Worst Bad Medicare Advice You Can Get: “Don’t Overthink It”
Here’s a piece of advice that is quite common to hear: “It’s just Medicare. Don’t overthink it.” On the surface, it sounds like a pretty attractive piece of advice. But of course it does! A statement like this is only trying to get you to cut corners with your healthcare. Sadly, it’s your financial future that will pay the cost.
Real talk: Creating a Medicare strategy requires some careful thought. It’s not impossible, and it doesn’t need to take up more than a few hours of your time every year. But it’s essential that you take the time to understand the ins and outs of your plan.
- Knowing the difference between the 4 types of Medicare (Part A, B, C, & D)
- Learning how Medigap and Medicare Advantage works
- Understanding and planning for your out-of-pocket costs (deductibles, copays, etc.)
- Knowing exactly where your coverage gaps are (Dental? Vision? Long-term care?)
- Making a plan for potential costs of long-term medical care
Looking at that list, it might feel a bit overwhelming. But when you work with an experienced Medicare advocate, one that takes the time to really understand your needs and goals, the whole process can become a whole lot easier.
If you’re signing up for a Medicare Plan for the first time, or if you need help modifying your current Medicare coverage, we can help. Click here to schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our coverage experts.
5 Bits of Free, Unbiased Medicare Advice That You Can Trust
If someone tells you to “Not Overthink Your Medicare”, they probably don’t have your best interests in mind. Maybe they stumbled into a plan that ended up working for them, but remember: Everybody is different. Our health plans should deeply reflect who we are and where we are in our lives.
With that in mind, here are a few bits of advice that should work for anyone, no matter what kind of Medicare you end up choosing.
- There is no one-size-fits-all Medicare plan
It doesn’t matter what your neighbor or cousin tells you. Medicare, like any other form of insurance, comes woefully short of actually giving us the health protection that we need. Everybody starts at square one with Original Medicare. From there, it’s on you to add the coverage you need to stay healthy and save more money for retirement.
- Everyone has the choice of A.) Filling their Medicare coverage gaps, or B.) Preparing to pay those costs out of pocket
The reason that most Medicare enrollees choose to supplement their original Medicare is because it can save them even more money in the long run. Specifically, they’re getting more coverage for things like vision, dental, and long-term care, which are three things that are always more expensive when paying out of pocket. The other huge benefit of a supplemental plan is that they can protect the enrollee with a cap on out-of-pocket expenses in the case of a large medical bill.
- The Medicare you choose at 65 might not be a good fit at 70, or 80, and so on.
Don’t expect the same Medicare plan to work for you forever. Things change, life happens, and your needs and goals could change on a dime. This also goes for your life insurance policy. There might come a time in your life when you don’t need as much protection, or similarly, a time when you need more.
- Medicare rates change every year: Plan an annual time to review rates (and change plans if needed)
No matter what combination of Medicare plans you might have, you can expect for the rates to change every year. All enrollees should be notified of any changes to the plan they’re in automatically. If you feel like you need a plan with better rates, contact your Personal Benefits Manager to make a strategy. You can switch to a Medicare Supplement plan any time of year, but your application could be subject to underwriting. The Annual Enrollment Period, which is from October 15th to December 7th, is when you can switch to Medicare Advantage, and add or switch Part D prescription drug plans.
- Cheaper is not always better, and better is not always more expensive
It’s easy to think that a $0 Medicare plan would be hands-down the best option. But while a lot of people benefit from low or no-premium Medicare Advantage, there are some who might be better off in a different plan, or considering Medigap instead.
Frequently Asked Questions About Medicare Advice [FAQ]
Q: What don’t they tell you about Medicare?
A: A lot of people are completely unaware that Medicare isn’t free. While most Americans qualify for $0 premium Part A, everybody has to pay the Part B premium, which is 170.10 per month in 2023.
Q: How do I file Medicare complaints about doctors?
A: If you want to file a specific complaint about the treatment you received from a doctor, the best way is to contact your state medical board. If you have a complaint about improper care or unsafe conditions at a hospital or nursing home, contact your state’s department of health.
Q: What is the Medicare ombudsman?
A: The Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman is a Medicare representative that can help you with complaints, grievances, and information requests from Medicare. The Ombudsman also collects data about incidents and issues, so that they can be used to improve the Medicare program down the line.
Who can help me with Medicare decisions?
When you choose MediGap Advisors, you’re paired with a real-life coverage expert. From the moment you call in, your Personal Benefits Manager will be there to assist you in the process of designing, enrolling, and enhancing your Medicare.
Our goal isn’t to sell you on a specific plan … It’s to make sure that you have the resources you need to make the best decision for you and your family. And there’s any way we can help after that, we’re only a phone call away. All of it without paying us a dime.
Call 800-913-3416 to get started, or click here to claim a free consultation.
Tom Lockwood is a Personal Benefits Manager at MediGap Advisors. Tom has a passion for bringing clarity to those confused about Medicare. He is an authority on Medicare, Medicare supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Part D prescription drug plans. Read more about Tom on his Bio page.