There’s a common misconception that Medicare is a simple, automatic process when you turn 65. Nothing could be further from the truth. The responsibility to enroll is on your shoulders, and if you miss deadlines or don’t enroll in just the right way, you can incur penalties that will consume chunks of your retirement income for the rest of your life.
Medicare is made up of Part A (Hospital Insurance), and Part B (Medical Insurance). There is generally no cost for Part A, but there is a monthly premium for Part B. If you don’t enroll in Part B when you’re eligible and then enroll later, you’re penalized 10% for every 12-month period you could have had Part B and did not.
Then there’s Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage). That’s not automatic either. If you don’t sign up for Part D when you’re eligible and enroll later you’ll be penalized 12% for every 12-month period you could have had Part D.
And then you have enrollment periods. There are actually 4 of them—the Initial Enrollment Period, the Special Enrollment Period, the General Enrollment Period and the Open Enrollment Period. You need to understand the purpose of each one and when each one occurs.
We haven’t even talked about Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement Plans. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot you need to know about Medicare. Well, we at Alhambra put together a guide to help you navigate any and all pitfalls associated with Medicare. Our Definitive Guide to Medicare is packed with information that will help you in that process.