Medicare is the nation’s largest health insurance program, but many Americans still don’t understand how it works. There are many misconceptions that have become popular over time. Here are five of the most common Medicare myths and the truths behind them.
Medicare enrollment happens automatically.
While everyone becomes eligible for Medicare at the age of 65, enrolling is up to you. There is a way for you to be automatically enrolled, but some are required to sign up.
If you have been receiving your Social Security benefits or disability when you turn 65, you will be automatically enrolled for Medicare Part A and Part B. If this does not apply to you, then you must sign up for Medicare during open enrollment or you Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
Medicare is free.
This myth is partially true if you have earned at least 40 Social Security credits during your career, or you qualify for benefits in another way. Part A is free if you are qualified, but Part B has a monthly premium for beneficiaries.
Medicare covers all health expenses after retirement.
Medicare Part A and Part B cover a lot of healthcare costs, but there is also a lot that Medicare does not cover. A few examples would be deductibles, coinsurance, and co-pays.
A Medigap plan can help out with these costs, but you will be required to pay an additional premium for a Medigap plan.
You may not qualify for Medicare.
Fortunately, you can’t be rejected from Medicare coverage if you are sick or have any pre-existing conditions. Not only can you not be turned away for coverage, but also your premiums won’t increase.
Medicare is going bankrupt.
The last misconception is that Medicare is running out of money and won’t be around for future generations.
According to the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees’ latest report, Medicare’s Part A trust fund is on track to burn through its spare cash by the year 2026, or possibly sooner. This would mean that there would be a reduction in payouts to hospitals and physicians.
Experts note that insolvent is different from bankrupt, in that there would still be money coming in, but not enough to support all the care patients would need. Medicare would not go completely bankrupt, nor would it stop providing coverage for millions of Americans.