I have been following your new ABBS4U.com association which helps Baby Boomers understand Medicare. Recently you discussed different myths of Medicare. It seems I am just as confused as those which are being affected by the myths.
I have recently been diagnosed as having Parkinson’s and want to be sure I make the correct choice. I have excellent company retirement health insurance and have no idea what to do when I turn 65 in March of 2019. John from Tampa, FL
Below is my response to the Myths of Medicare from Chapter 7 of Toni’s Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition that explains Medicare.
• Myth #1 A person can enroll in Medicare any time after they’re 65 without penalty FALSE!! This idea is wrong. If you are not working fulltime for a company with true group benefits and wait later than 65 years old and 90 days to enroll in Part B, then you can receive a penalty of 10% for each 12-month period or year that you did not enroll in Part B. That penalty lasts for the rest of your life.
John since you are not working fulltime for the company you have retirement benefits with, I would advise you to enroll in both Medicare Parts A and B to keep from receiving the late enrollment Part B penalty later.
Toni Says®: If you or your spouse are not working fulltime with true company benefits be sure to enroll in Parts A and B by the time you turn 65. Wait 90 days past turning 65 and you will get a penalty.
• Myth #2: Medicare is free. FALSE!! The Medicare payroll tax that you have been paying for years is for Medicare Part A. Part B has a premium which is means tested due to your income and your spouse’s income (if you filed jointly). Most on Medicare are paying the minimum required each month for Part B, but 10% of Medicare Beneficiaries meet the means tested income amount and must pay more for their Medicare Part B premiums each month. If you do not pay the Part B premium, you will not have any of the Part B benefits.
Toni Says®: Nothing is free. You worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system.
• Myth #3: Most baby boomers think Medicare is just like regular health insurance plans. FALSE!! Medicare is completely different than traditional group or individual health insurance. Medicare has two Parts A & B. Part A has a deductible that can be charged up to 6 times a year for an inpatient hospital stay (depending on how many times you are admitted to the hospital). Medicare Part B includes medical services such as office visits and doctor performing surgery, outpatient services and surgery, scans, x-rays, chemotherapy and radiation, wheel chairs, walkers and the list goes on. There is a once per year deductible for Medicare Part B, with Medicare picking up 80% and you pay 20% of the Medicare approved charges.
Toni Says®: Medicare is completely different than health insurance. Learn about the different Medicare plan options to pick up your out of pocket costs. Medicare courses available at www.abbs4u.com.
• Myth #4… Medicare covers everything. FALSE Most baby boomers are surprised to find out that Medicare does not cover long term care, routine dental care, dentures, cosmetic surgery, exams for hearing or hear aids and acupuncture. Medicare only covers what is medically necessary.
Toni Says®: Medicare will only pay for medical expenses and if Medicare doesn’t pay, then your Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage plan will not pay either.
John visit www.abbs4u.com to attend American Baby Boomers Society courses on Medicare which puts Medicare in easy to understand terms or email Toni at email@example.com.
— Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide® offers a Toni Says® Medicare column readers discount available at tonisays.com. Email Medicare/long term care questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 832/519-TONI (8664).