Google Trends data shows Health Care queries in the US is a reaching an all-time high in search engines (peaking at over 100k search volume). As health care changes are currently being discussed by lawmakers, Medicare coverage searches having increased over 250% within the last 7 days. Medicare Part B, which charges beneficiaries’ premium based on their income, has jumped the top search term in Google for Medicare related queries.
United Medicare Advisors has identified the The 5 Medicare Myths that Cause Confusion Among Seniors, and has tackled these myths with hard facts.
Myths About Medicare
1.) Medicare will be bankrupt in several years
What can past market crashes teach us about the current one?
Fact: Medicare is not nearing bankruptcy. Medicare’s Hospital insurance (Part A) is capable of paying 100% of the costs for hospital insurance, from now until 2028. In 2028, hospital insurance still won’t be burned out, as taxes will pay 87% of costs.
2.) Everyone pays the same amount of Medicare
Fact: There is no single payment that all beneficiaries adhere to. The amount you pay, particularly for the premiums is determined by earning history. There are surcharges to beneficiaries with high incomes. The standard premium for Part B in 2016 was $121.80 per month, those who earned $85,000 as single filers or $170,000 as joint filers incurred additional monthly charges.
3.) Medicare is going to be shut down because of the Affordable Care Act
Fact: Medicare is not ending any time soon because of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA was not intended to replace Medicare and it will not take away any of the guaranteed benefits of Medicare. The ACA prohibits cuts to Medicare guaranteed benefits. The Affordable Care Act has provisions purposed with reducing the costs of Medicare, eliminating fraud and waste, providing patient-centered care and covering preventative care against chronic conditions.
4.) Individuals can only enroll in Medicare during the Open Enrollment Period
Fact: Although a major enrollment period, the AEP is not the only time period in which people can enroll in Medicare. The AEP, or Open Enrollment Period, only affects those already enrolled in Medicare. This period runs from October 15-December 7 each year. For those new to Medicare, there is the IEP, or Initial Enrollment Period, which is a 7-month period surrounding a person’s 65th birthday. The GEP, or General Enrollment Period, exists if you’ve missed the IEP. There’s also the Special Enrollment Period, or SEP, for those obtaining health insurance from current employers.
“Most seniors do not understand that the only time they can get a Supplement Plan without medically qualifying is when they first get their Part B,” Robert Bache, President of Senior Healthcare Direct quoted. “Seniors that have had an MAPD for 3 or 4 years often want to upgrade to a Supplement, because they had a recent health issue. They are shocked to learn that they cannot get a Supplement because they are not healthy enough.”
5.) Medicare dramatically needs to be revised with new policies
Fact: Policy changes would increase costs. Restructuring Medicare is usually proposed in the context of a budget, with the end goal of saving money. This would be achieved be making middle and upper income beneficiaries pay more out-of-pocket costs, with less in return, killing the purpose of redesigning Medicare.
Andrea Maxwell, Parallon of HCA Healthcare, explained to United Medicare Advisors, “Claims are rejected due to patients being ineligible and they may not even know it. Medicare is one of the insurances that people seem to not understand all of the parts.”
Maxwell, who specializes in billing and claims, described that “patients will go in for a hospital visit, have a few procedures done, provide their insurance and leave. Then when it comes time for the hospital to bill them – every single procedure and every single tool that is used has a charge.” She quoted, “People seem to think that everything is covered, but that is not the case.”
Medicare Expert and Author of Imagine Understanding Your Medicare Insurance Options, Mike Colson commented, “One common misconception about Medicare is that it covers Long Term Care.”