Top view of stethoscope and hundreds of dollarsThere are tons of rules and guidelines when it comes to Medicare coverage, and being alert to common Medicare mistakes can help you navigate the landscape more easily. Problems are most likely to occur during a Medicare beneficiaries’ initial enrollment period, but you don’t need to learn the hard way just because you’re a newbie. Below is an explanation of five of the most costly Medicare mistakes people make.

1. Auto-Renewing a Medicare Plan

Your Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part B plan renews on January 1 every year, unless you decide otherwise. Automatic renewal might sound convenient, but Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage plans have the option to amend coverage from year to year. They might also change what you pay in coinsurance, co-pay, premium and deductible amounts.

2. Choosing Based on Monthly Premiums

It’s all too easy to lock in on Medicare premiums when looking into health insurance coverage. However, Medicare premiums are just a tiny portion of what you pay. You’ll need to look into out-of-pocket costs, deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance and consider how often you use health care services. For instance, low monthly premiums might charge more for co-payments or deductibles.

3. Basing Your Choice on Someone Else’s Medicare Coverage

You can’t assume that the same health coverage is appropriate for you and your spouse or friends. For example, one of you might require Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, while another needs Part B because they don’t need a prescription drug plan.

4. Not Reading Your Annual Notice of Change

Every year in September, you get an important document called the ANOC if you’re enrolled in a Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan. For instance, your plan’s premiums might increase or decrease or move your prescription drugs into a different pricing tier.

5. Not Signing up for Medicare Part B Because You Have Retiree or COBRA Coverage

Medicare Part B is optional, but keep in mind that Medicare is usually considered your primary insurance, with retiree, COBRA or severance not being considered as primary. As such, if you don’t sign up for Part B in time, you might get hit with a 10% late enrollment penalty.

What’s more, you might have to wait to get coverage if you delay for more than eight months after you leave your job or miss the enrollment window when you turn 65. In these instances, you can only sign up between January and March, with coverage beginning July 1.

Choose the Right Medicare Plan

If you’re looking for health insurance, Medicare Planning of America can help you get the best Medicare enrollment plan for your unique requirements. We’ll make sure your Medicare costs are suited to your budget and needs. Get in touch today to find out more.