Three Common Medicare Myths
Myth 1: All Medicare Supplement plans are the same, so I should choose the lowest cost
It’s true that most Medicare Supplements generally work the same way. However, they’re not all identical. Here are a few examples of how plans can differ:
- Most Medicare Supplements will only cover a limited amount of an annual physical exam, causing Medicare beneficiaries to get an invoice that can easily reach $300 -$500. There are some other Medicare Supplements that might only cost $10/month more but will cover an unlimited amount of annual physical exams. That extra $120/year is well worth it if it prevents you from getting a $400 invoice after your annual physical exam.
- Some Medicare Supplements include value-added benefits, such as a free annual eye exam and/or a free gym membership, while other plans don’t offer these extra perks.
- Some Medicare Supplements have an annual deductible of $2,490 (in 2022), meaning the plan doesn’t start covering you until you’ve paid the first $2,490 towards your medical bills. For typically $30 – $40 more per month, you can have a plan without that deductible.
Myth 2: Medicare covers everything, so I don’t need any other insurance.
Medicare is great, but it’s not sufficient on its own. Medicare has a Part A deductible of $1,556 per hospital stay, an annual Part B deductible of $233, and then after that Medicare beneficiaries must pay 20% of their medical services, and there’s no limit on that 20%. When considering how expensive some treatments can be — infusions, chemotherapy, surgeons and anesthesiologists — 20% could add up to an alarming amount. Because of that, it’s extremely important to get something in addition to Medicare. However, that doesn’t mean you need to buy an expensive insurance plan. There are many Medicare Advantage plans that have very little or no monthly premiums, and so there’s no reason to go without any additional protection.
Myth 3: If I don’t take any prescriptions, then I don’t need to enroll in a Part D drug plan.
Once you start Medicare, the federal government requires you to be enrolled in “creditable drug coverage,” such as a Part D prescription drug plan or a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program. If you choose to go without drug coverage, you’ll be forced to pay a late enrollment penalty when you eventually enroll in a Part D drug plan, and you’ll have to pay the rest of your life. Because of this, even if you don’t take any prescription drugs it’s very important to either enroll in a low cost Part D drug plan, or Wisconsin SeniorCare RX, which is a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program that’s only $30/year and is considered creditable drug coverage by Medicare.