We all hear a lot about Medicare, but not all of that information is accurate. Here’s the truth behind five common Medicare myths.
1. Myth: Once you enroll in one plan, you cannot switch to a different plan.
Truth: Every year, people who are eligible for Medicare have the opportunity to switch to a different plan during the Annual Enrollment Period. For 2017 coverage, the Annual Enrollment Period is from October 15 to December 7, with an effective date of the following January.
2. Myth: You don’t have to pay anything for Original Medicare.
Truth: There is no cost for Medicare Part A, which is hospital coverage, if you contributed into Social Security for 10 years. If you haven’t, you can purchase Medicare Part A. You do have to pay a premium for Medicare Part B, which is medical coverage. Your premium cost depends on your income.
3. Myth: You have to receive Social Security before you can enroll in Medicare.
Truth: Your Social Security benefits do not affect your eligibility for Medicare. Generally, Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, younger people with disabilities and people with permanent kidney failure. If you are receiving Social Security benefits, your Medicare Part B premium will be deducted from your check.
4. Myth: Original Medicare covers most services in full.
Truth: Many people think Original Medicare alone is enough coverage without realizing that it usually pays for only 80 percent of services. In general, you pay a 20 percent coinsurance for services received under Part A and Part B. To fill in the gaps that Original Medicare doesn’t cover,you can purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan. Or you can choose a Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C) instead of Original Medicare. With Medicare Advantage, you’ll have more coverage than with Original Medicare and your plan may include additional benefits or lower copayments. You may be required to get care within a network of doctors or other healthcare providers.
5. Myth: Original Medicare provides prescription drug coverage.
Truth: Original Medicare does not offer outpatient prescription drug coverage. You can purchase it separately. Often, prescription drug coverage is included as part of a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Last updated: 01/01/2017
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island depends on contract renewal.