Medicare is one of the largest government-run programs so it’s no wonder that details and answers can be complicated. And with so much information out there on the subject, it can be hard to differentiate myths from facts. In this week’s blog, we will be diving into some of the most common misconceptions of the Medicare program. We hope to point out some of the most prevalent myths and provide the information you need to dispel them.
Medicare covers all aspects of healthcare:
This is just not true. While Medicare covers a number of healthcare services, traditional Medicare enrollees do not receive coverage for all procedures and care. The difference between full coverage and actual coverage is an important distinction. Some of the services not offered include dental, vision, hearing aids and out-of-country medical care. For complete Medicare coverage information, visit Medicare’s official website.
You can enroll year-round:
It is a complete myth that you can enroll anytime during the year. Your first opportunity to enroll is during your initial enrollment period (IEP). This period begins three months prior to your 65th birthday, runs through the month of your birthday, plus the three months following.
Outside of your (IEP), the standard enrollment period for Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans is between Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. This consistent date is given so that private insurers covering Part D have time to submit paperwork prior to the Jan. 1 coverage start date. These are important dates to remember, so be sure to mark your calendar.
Everyone pays the same:
This is another total myth. The price often varies for Medicare Part B. The amount you will pay for Part B is dependent on your most recent tax filing. Those who filed individually and had a Modified Adjusted Gross Income of $85,000 or less will pay the standard monthly premium of $110.50. Additionally, couples who filed jointly with a Modified Adjusted gross Income of $170,000 or less will also pay the standard monthly premium. For a majority of American’s, the standard premium will be the most you pay. For those earning more than the amounts listed, premiums vary based on income brackets. Learn what you can expect to pay at the official Medicare website.
Medicare is almost out of money:
We will call this one a partial myth. While the most recent Medicare Board of Trustees’ report indicated the Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust is running out of cash faster than previous projections, the exhaustion of this Trust would not result in Medicare coverage being dropped. The result of unavailable funds from the trust would result in a “budget neutral” program requiring a reduction in payouts to hospitals and physicians, possibly resulting in some care providers dropping coverage.
However, the money produced from payroll taxes will continue to fund the program for the millions of seniors enrolled. The topic of future Medicare funding will certainly be top of conversation for congress. At this time, the dissipation of Medicare is a non-factor.
Medicare is totally free:
This may be one of the most widespread falsehoods in regard to Medicare. While some portions of the program are indeed free, enrollees are still responsible for covering various expenses on their own. For those exploring Medicare for the first time, evaluating deductibles, prescription drug plans and other out-of-pocket expenses will be an important step in gauging overall costs. It is not uncommon for retirees to be responsible for as much as 20 percent of their medical expenses.
While there are many more Medicare myths to bust, we hope you found this blog to be a valuable resource. For more information on Medicare or other aspects of senior life such as senior housing, transportation and more, contact your local advisor today.