| Thu, Oct 20, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

5 Medicare Mistakes That Could Cost You

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

medicare-oep-mistakes-to-avoidYou may have a lot of choices when it comes to Medicare. And the biggest one might be choosing to take charge of your Medicare decisions in the first place.

Medicare Open Enrollment (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7) is your chance to take charge. Here are 5 common mistakes that you don’t want to make during this time—and why.

  1. Allowing automatic plan renewal to make your choice for you

Your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan renews every year on January 1, unless you decide to change it.

Automatic renewal may make your life easy, but it may not be the best way to make your Medicare decisions. Plans may change what they cover from year to year. They may also change what you will pay in deductible, premium, copay or coinsurance amounts.

Insurance companies review their plans each year to make sure they’re still viable. Shouldn’t you do the same?

  1. Ignoring your plan’s Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC)

You will receive an Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC) from your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan in the fall. This document explains any changes in your plan benefits or costs for the upcoming year. The changes may affect your health care and your budget. Learn about what to look for in your ANOC.

  1. Basing your plan choice on the premium alone

It’s easy to focus only on premiums when looking at Medicare costs. But it’s a good idea to look at the big picture, too.

A plan with a low monthly premium may charge a large deductible or have high copayments. You might prefer this if you rarely go to the doctor and don’t take many medications. But a plan like this could be expensive if you use health care services often, even with the low premium.

It’s important to think about all the out-of-pocket costs as well as your health care needs when choosing a plan.

  1. Picking a plan because your spouse or friend has it

You might count on a friend’s word when deciding what new restaurant to try, but a Medicare Part D or a Medicare Advantage plan is a personal choice. What works for one person may not fit with the needs of another.

You may have several Medicare Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans to choose from. It’s a good idea to look at all your options, keeping your health care needs and budget in mind. Coverage and costs may vary quite a bit from plan to plan.

  1. Assuming you don’t qualify for help with Medicare costs

Several programs offer financial assistance with Medicare premiums and other costs. You may want to look into them, even if you think you might not be eligible. Call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) office to discuss your situation.


Medicare Open Enrollment exists so that you have a chance to change your Medicare Advantage or Part D coverage once each year if you decide to. You may want to take the opportunity to review your current coverage and your needs so you can make an informed decision.

Related Content

3 Good Reasons to Shop for a New Medicare Plan

Medicare Plan Changes: What to Look For


For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

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