If you're nearing your 65th birthday, your mind is probably on retirement, which should include your Medicare benefits. If you haven't started thinking about Medicare, you need to do that. Medicare is an important part of any retirement plans. However, there are some mistakes you can make along the way. Here are four tips that will help you avoid those mistakes.
1. Don't Miss the Enrollment Deadline
When it comes to Medicare benefits, the most important thing you need to do is enroll. If you don't enroll within the right window, you'll end up facing penalties. To avoid those penalties, you need to enroll in Medicare within seven months of turning 65.
If you've already been receiving social security disability payments, you'll automatically be enrolled in Medicare on your 65th birthday. However, if you're not, you'll need to take care of the enrollment on your own. It's important that you remember to enroll as soon as you turn 65, even if you plan to hold off on retirement for a few more years.
2. Look at the Out-of-Pocket Expenses
When choosing a Medicare plan to enroll in, it's important that you look at the out-of-pocket expenses. Each program will have different expenses that you'll be responsible for. You may find the zero or low-premium options to be your best bet.
However, once you dig into the out-of-pocket expenses, you may decide that higher premiums are a better option. This is particularly true if your zero or low-premium plans go with high deductibles or copayments for services.
3. Watch the Prescription Benefits
When you're choosing your Medicare plan, you'll need to pay close attention to your prescription medication benefits. Failure to do that could end up costing up a lot more money for the medications you need.
A few ways to prevent sticker shock for your prescriptions is to choose generic medications or purchase your prescription medication online where costs are often cheaper. It's also a good idea to include a prescription discount program with your Medicare plan.
4. Know Who Your Providers Are
When you enroll in a Medicare plan, make sure you know what health care providers are on the network. This is particularly important if you already have doctors you're comfortable with.
If you choose a plan with a network that doesn't include your healthcare providers, you may be forced to choose other doctors for your care. One way to avoid that is to talk to your doctors in advance and find out what Medicare networks they're on. For more information, contact a company that offers Medicare services.