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The Truth About Medicare Myths

Founded in 1965, Medicare supports over 65 million Americans today. The federal health insurance program covers a variety of health services for seniors and individuals with disabilities, including hospital visits, medical services, and prescription drugs. While Medicare protects against steep healthcare costs and provides financial security, the unfortunate truth is that there are many myths being perpetuated about the program.

Here are five common misconceptions about Medicare:

Myth #1: Medicare coverage begins automatically when you turn 65.

 Truth: Enrollment in Medicare is generally required once someone becomes eligible and meets certain criteria. Most individuals are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) at age 65 if they’re already receiving Social Security Benefits. On the other hand, Medicare Part B is optional, and covers medical services and supplies not fully covered by Part A.

There are designated 7-month initial enrollment periods for Medicare Part A and B – depending on whether someone qualifies because of age or due to a disability. Missing the enrollment deadline could result in penalties or gaps in coverage.

Discover when your Medicare coverage starts here.

Myth #2: Medicare is free and will handle all of your healthcare needs.

 Truth: Medicare Part A, which covers hospital insurance, is generally free for individuals who have paid Medicare taxes while working for a sufficient period (at least 10 years). On the other hand, Medicare Part B requires payment of premiums, which are usually standard amounts deducted from Social Security benefits. Medicare Part D, which ensures prescription drug coverage, is offered through specific payment plans from private insurance companies.

While Medicare Parts A and B cover a number of hospital and medical needs, they do not encompass things such as dental, vision, and hearing services. Additional services like transportation to doctor visits are not covered either. And as referenced above, prescription drug needs require a Part D standalone plan or a Medicare Advantage plan.

Myth #3: Medicare pays for all nursing home costs.

 Truth: Medicare provides limited coverage for nursing home costs, only under certain conditions and for a short duration. Note that the rules and coverages for nursing home care can vary depending on your circumstances and the state in which you reside. It’s advised that you consult with a Medicare Planning professional to determine what your options are.

Myth #4: Medicare plans are all priced the same.

 Truth: Medicare plans vary in cost based on several factors, including the type of Medicare coverage, the insurance company offering the plan, and the healthcare services and items that are used each year.

Learn more about Medicare costs here.

Myth #5: Medicare Supplements and Advantage Plans are identical.

Truth: Medicare Supplements, also known as Medigap plans, and Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) are two different types of private health insurance plans that work alongside Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) to provide additional coverage.

Medicare Supplements are designed to help cover gaps in Original Medicare coverage, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. With Medicare Supplements, you can see any healthcare provider nationwide who accepts Medicare. Ultimately, these plans offer more flexibility in coverage compared to Medicare Advantage Plans.

Medicare Advantage Plans are comprehensive health insurance plans that often include additional benefits – prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, and more. These plans are more structured and tend to have more rules and restrictions. And often, Medicare Advantage Plans have provider networks for health care services.

 Know Your Options and Take Control of Your Future

Original Medicare. Medicare Supplements. Advantage Plans. Medicare is a complex program that can create unnecessary stress. And with no shortage of myths being perpetuated about Medicare, it can be hard to get the care that you need.

At Elder Life Group, we can pair the right options with your needs. As your partner, we’ll help you evaluate your coverage options, starting with a free consultation. By handling all the legwork, we’ll simplify the complex and help you enjoy the carefree life you’ve earned.

To speak with an Elder Life advisor about Medicare Planning for secure coverage, contact us today.

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