NTMWD Plant Smart 2024

Don’t fall victim to the myths about Medicare

by | Feb 21, 2019 | Opinion

Navigating Medicare can be challenging under the best of circumstances. It becomes even more difficult when someone new to Medicare falls victim to the myths, or misconceptions, about the health care program.

Let’s take a look at the most common myths in hopes that you’ll avoid the confusion that could cost you time or money.

 Myth No. 1: Medicare is free.

 Medicare’s hospital insurance, known as Part A, has no premium if you’ve worked throughout your life. But the outpatient services coverage, or Part B, does have a monthly premium, as does the prescription drug insurance, or Part D.

 In addition, there are deductibles and co-payments for certain services. Overall, the traditional Medicare program covers about 80 percent of your costs, which means you’re responsible for the other 20 percent.

 Many people buy a “Medigap” supplemental health insurance plan from a private company to help cover those out-of-pocket costs. Or they opt out of the traditional Medicare program and purchase a Medicare Advantage plan from a private insurer to receive their Medicare benefits.

 Myth No. 2: Medicare covers everything.

 Though traditional Medicare pays for many health care services, it doesn’t cover all of them. For example, it doesn’t pay for standard dental, vision or hearing care. If you’re interested in any of those services, you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage plan that offers extra benefits.

 Myth No. 3: You’ll be automatically enrolled when it’s time.

 That’s only partially true. If you’re already receiving Social Security, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B when you turn 65. (You’ll still need to sign up for Part D.) If you’re not on Social Security yet, you must enroll in Medicare yourself.

 For most people, the best time to apply for Medicare is during the three months before your 65th birthday, the month you become 65 and the three months after you turn 65. So, let’s say your birthday is Aug. 15. That means you can sign up from May 1 through Nov. 30.

 Myth No. 4: Everyone pays the same for Medicare.

 If your annual income is below $85,000, or $170,000 for a married couple, you pay the standard Part B and D premiums. But if it’s more, you pay a surcharge. In 2018, the surcharge for Part B ranges from $53.50 to $294.60 per month, depending on your income. That’s in addition to the standard $134 premium.

 Myth No. 5: Having poor health will disqualify you from coverage.

 Medicare can’t reject you, or charge you higher premiums, because of a health problem. It can’t discriminate based on a pre-existing condition. In fact, about two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries live with at least two chronic conditions.

 Myth No. 6: Medicare covers long-term care.

 Many people don’t realize until it’s too late that Medicare typically doesn’t pay for long-term “custodial” care – the kind of personal care that helps you with such day-to-day tasks as getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing and eating.

 Medicare does cover some skilled nursing or rehabilitative care if a physician orders it after a hospital stay of at least three days. You pay nothing during the first 20 days of your care and then part of the cost for the next 80 days.

 Myth No. 7: Medicare and Medicaid are the same thing.

 The two programs are often confused. Medicare covers health care for people 65 and older and for people with certain disabilities. Medicaid helps cover health care for people with low incomes and few resources. Some people qualify for both.

 Myth No. 8: A lot of doctors don’t take Medicare.

 The vast majority of doctors accept Medicare. The traditional Medicare fee-for-service program offers the broadest possible access to health care professionals.  You can go to any provider who’s taking new Medicare patients.

 Medicare Advantage plans, on the other hand, often require you to go to doctors within their network of providers or pay more for getting care elsewhere. So, before signing up for a particular Advantage plan, make sure you’re satisfied with its network of providers.

 Even after 53 years, Medicare is still misunderstood. If you’re in doubt about some aspect of the Medicare program, please visit www.medicare.gov or talk with a customer service representative toll-free at 1-800-633-4227.

For more stories like this, see the Feb. 21 issue or subscribe online.

Photos online

0 Comments

Public Notice - Subscribe

Related News

Comic Relief

Comic Relief

People use different ways to learn to read. Some folks use the vowels and consonants method. Others memorize how the words look.  I used both, but I had a secret weapon many didn’t know about.  Comic books.  While most kids were having, “Fun with Dick...

read more
35 Texas counties eligible for individual disaster aid

35 Texas counties eligible for individual disaster aid

Residents in a total of 35 Texas counties now qualify for individual disaster assistance following a series of severe storms and flooding that began in late April, The Dallas Morning News reported. “I thank our federal partners and emergency response personnel across...

read more
Texas could face long-term water supply deficit

Texas could face long-term water supply deficit

Texas is facing a reckoning on water that we must address if the state wants to secure its future prosperity. The State Water Plan prepared by the Texas Water Development Board projects that Texas faces a long-term water supply deficit of 6.9 million acre-feet in 50...

read more
Hogging the channels

Hogging the channels

 I have a lot of my grandparents in me. I’m cheap. I also love the Arkansas Razorbacks. Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to radio, television, and an Arkansas game. I grew up listening to free radio and watching free television. So, the idea of paying...

read more
Laundry: There’s more than one way to fold

Laundry: There’s more than one way to fold

You would think that there’s only one way to fold towels. But, you’d be wrong. Growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, my momma showed me how to fold them, as well as shirts, socks, underpants, and other personal sundries. I assumed that this skillset would carry me all the...

read more
The Lawn Moore

The Lawn Moore

America really is The Land of Opportunity. Even if there’s only one opportunity, and that opportunity is cutting the grass.  Ashdown, Arkansas, was a pretty typical small American town in the 1960s and 1970s.  Kids weren’t just handed things. If we wanted...

read more
A myth understanding

A myth understanding

In the South, we believed with all of our hearts what we were told when we were children. Even if it was wrong. In the 1960s, the RCA color console TV my family had on Beech Street in Ashdown, Arkansas, could make you go blind. It could if you believed what our mom...

read more
On the road again and again

On the road again and again

Back in the 60s, some American college kids protested the Vietnam War, but mostly, they conducted sit-ins. Few protests were violent. Other American college kids would have contests to see how many of them they could cram into a Volkswagen. Today, some college kids...

read more
Aisle be seeing you

Aisle be seeing you

As a child growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, we had two main grocery stores. Shur-Way and Piggly Wiggly. Or as my dad called it, “Hoggly Woggly.” A trip to the store was like each TV commercial had come to life. Advertising agencies at the time were very good at what...

read more
Just plane fun

Just plane fun

My wife and I are scheduled for an Alaskan cruise in the fall. By all accounts, it’s something to which we should look forward. I’ve been told the same thing about other trips, including a Vegas excursion that included a stay at a strip motel that still had beds that...

read more
Public Notice - Subscribe