Medicare can be a great help in ensuring you get the healthcare you need after your days of active employment are over. However, there is a lot of misinformation about this form of health insurance. Some say it is free, and others say you cannot be eligible for coverage if you were never formally employed.
Is Medicare activated automatically the moment you turn 65, or do you have to sign up for it? These are just some of the questions and misconceptions around Medicare. To benefit from this program as intended, you need to do some research and sift through the inaccuracies. There are several common myths surrounding Medicare, including:
1) It Covers Every Service
Some people assume there’s no difference between regular health insurance and Medicare. But Medicare is designed for the more basic kinds of healthcare. It will pay for your physicians consultation fee, inpatient treatment, x-rays and lab tests as well as preventive services. Medicare will also help with some home care services.
These benefits are listed under Medicare Part A and Part B, which your social security entitles you to. So, what exactly is Medicare Part C? It is a part of Medicare covered by private insurance. In addition to the basic healthcare services mentioned above, Part C covers prescription drugs, dental care, and treatment for visual and hearing conditions.
However, Medicare Part A and B will not take care of long-term treatment. Neither will it cover dental or optical procedures. Drugs prescribed by your general practitioner also won’t be covered by Medicare. To access these other healthcare services without dipping into your piggy bank, you will need to purchase additional health insurance.
2) It is Free
This is not entirely true, though it’s easy to see why people may think it is. You will only access Medicare without payment if you have been making Medicare contributions for at least 10 years. If you haven’t been as consistent with your Medicare taxes, you will be required to pay premiums in full or at a discounted rate.
You will only be able to access Medicare Part A without additional payment. For Parts B, C, and D, you will be required to pay a premium every month. Free access to Medicare Part A only applies to people of 65 years and above, but you can access this coverage under special circumstances before reaching that age.
3) Enrollment is Automatic
This myth needs to be debunked. If you haven’t been claiming social security benefits for at least three months after turning 65, you will need to contact social security and sign up. The initial enrollment starts three months before you turn 65, so if you complete your Medicare application within this six-month window, you will avoid the Part B late enrolment penalty.
4) You Can’t Have Medicare and Medicaid
Many people believe you have to choose between Medicare and Medicaid and can’t have both. However, this is not true. You can be eligible for both forms of medical insurance.
Having access to Medicaid can allow you to access some services that you would otherwise have had to pay additional premiums for. If you’re also eligible for Medicaid, you will get such benefits as long-term care and dental care for your kids, which Medicare doesn’t offer or offers through private insurance. However, you must meet all requirements for dual enrollment in these plans.
5) If You Never Worked, You Can’t Get Medicare
Medicare contributions are deducted directly from your pay. If you’ve been paying your Medicare tax faithfully for at least 10 years, you should have access to Medicare Part A without paying any premiums. But will you be able to get Medicare if you didn’t work very long?
You can get Medicare Part A cover without premiums if your spouse is eligible for the same. You may also be eligible if you suffer from certain medical conditions such as Lou Gherig’s disease or kidney failure. If you have certain disabilities, you could be eligible for Medicare Part A without paying premiums even if you’re younger than 65.
If you don’t qualify for Medicare Part A under the above categories, you can pay monthly premiums for it. However, you must be 65 or older to enroll. The same goes for Medicare Part B.
Many of the myths swirling around about Medicare are misleading half-truths that can see you miss out on benefits you have already paid for. You need to dig beyond the surface of these myths and get to the hard facts. Enlist the help of a health insurance expert to find the best options for you to enjoy retirement.