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Newly Eligible Medicare Beneficiaries Confused About Enrollment: Report


Newtown Square, PA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/11/2017 -- Part B Medicare enrollment can be complex. In fact, the Medicare consumer helpline indicated seniors do not understand how to enroll with the Part B Medicare plan, which covers physician visits and outpatient services.

The greatest confusion about enrolling in Medicare Part B arises with workers covered by employer health insurance at age 65. Not enrolling or enrolling late can be extremely costly. Other areas of confusion are how to deal with the increased costs of drugs under Medicare Part D and what is covered under Medicare Advantage.

The Medicare Center's National Helpline said that callers were attempting to figure out the complex Medicare program and find the funds to purchase what they needed. The Medicare helpline analyzed 16,000 questions from these callers and produced a comprehensive report titled: "Medicare Trends and Recommendations: An Analysis of 2015 Call Data from the Medicare Rights Center's National Helpline." The report concluded that laws mandating earlier and more detailed information be available for newly eligible beneficiaries in order to clear up confusion. Close to ten thousand eligible individuals for Medicare sign up each day.

"If an eligible individual times their enrollment wrong, they may end up paying extra money for the rest of their lives. It is important to note that signing up for Medicare is not just signing up the day someone turns 65," indicated Clelland Green, RHU, CEO, "Nor do latecomers registering for Medicare want to end up paying for parts they do not need."

If an eligible senior fails to enroll for Part B when on time, they face lifetime penalties, disruptions in care and a coverage gap. The penalty is usually an extra 10 percent for each year a senior could have had Part B but did not apply and was not covered by insurance at work.

On the other hand, those with jobs that do have health insurance with an employer, signing up for Part B may be delayed without a penalty until the job ends. Coordinating Part B and an employer's health insurance plan is not simple, so it is important to check into all the options available to make certain the transition to Medicare is seamless.

"It is also important to remember that Medicare does not cover everything, so you need to figure out what type of coverage you want: traditional or original Medicare and a supplement plan (Medigap), or Medicare Advantage which is Medigap and a prescription drug plan," added Green.