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Medicare myths

There are many myths about Medicare that cause confusion. Here, we give you the facts to help you make the right coverage decision for your needs.

6 common Medicare myths busted


Coverage is automatic

Some people get Medicare automatically and some have to sign up. You may have to sign up if you're 65 (or almost 65) and not getting Social Security. You may have to pay a higher premium for late enrollment in Part B, so it's important to be aware of your enrollment window, even if you plan to continue working after you turn 65.


Medicare is free

Not quite. Generally, if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while employed, then you will not pay a monthly premium for Part A (hospital coverage).

Part B, which covers doctor visits and outpatient care, does have premiums. These premiums are based on your IRS tax return from 2 years prior. The standard Part B premium is $148.50 per month for 2021. However, costs can vary depending on your income.

You are responsible for paying Parts A and B deductibles and coinsurances.

If you require prescription drug coverage (Part D), you will need to factor in that cost.


Medicare covers everything

No, Medicare does not cover everything. The truth is that Original Medicare only covers part of your inpatient hospital care (Part A) and outpatient services (Part B).

Items not covered — and requiring supplemental coverage — include prescription drugs (Part D), coinsurances and deductibles, and vision and dental.


Medicare costs the same for everyone

Medicare costs can vary. Your Part B and Part D premiums are determined by your IRS tax return from 2 years prior. You may also choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare supplement plan.

Plan costs will vary based on benefits. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer monthly premiums as low as $0 beyond what you pay for Medicare Part B (outpatient coverage).


Enrollment is year-round

No, it's not year-round. Enrollment periods vary and are based on whether you are new to Medicare, already enrolled or qualify for a special enrollment period.

There are two key enrollment periods.

1. If you will be turning 65 soon, then you have 7 months to sign up for Medicare — during the 3 months before your birth month, your birth month and the 3 months after your birth month.

2. If you already have Medicare, then you have from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 to make any changes to your current coverage. These changes will take effect Jan. 1 of the following year.


Medicare covers you while traveling abroad

No, Original Medicare does not cover your emergency health costs while traveling abroad. You will need to purchase a Medicare supplement plan that includes foreign travel, or travel medical insurance for that specific trip.

However, some Medicare Advantage plans do offer emergency health costs while traveling outside of the United States. The Medicare Advantage plans accepted by Sharp include this type of coverage.

We're here to help

To speak with one of our experts on Medicare, attend an upcoming educational seminar or schedule a 30-minute phone appointment with Medicare specialists at Sharp.

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