Top 7 Mistakes Made By Medicare Beneficiaries

1) Not shopping around for the best Medicare Supplement Rate. There are ten Medicare Supplement plans, A-N which are standardized by the federal government. The only difference from one company to the next is the cost, not the coverage. If you could save $300-$1000 per year by switching your auto coverage and still have the exact same coverage, wouldn’t you?

2) Not shopping around fro your prescription drug coverage during the Annual Election Period. In 2011, there are 38 different drug plans, all varying by co-pays, premium and deductibles. Based on your specific medications, you might find a savings of several hundred dollars from one plan to the next. There is a tool on the Medicare website that will tell you the best plan in a matter of seconds, once you enter your specific drugs.

3) Not understanding the difference between a Medicare Advantage plan and a traditional Medicare supplement. These are the only two ways to get your coverage and both have very distinct differences. You owe it to yourself to know the difference. Your health insurance coverage is a vital piece of your financial plan, especially in retirement!

4) Purchasing your coverage directly from the insurance company. Insurance companies want and need your business. Common sense will tell us that if we leave it to the company, they are not going to advise you to go with their competition for a cheaper or different type of plan according to your specific needs.

5) Purchasing Medicare coverage from an agent that only represents one company. See number 4 for the logic on this one. One size does not fit all, so how can they accommodate you with their limited product line? Also, if they put you in a plan, can they guarantee it is the lowest cost for the coverage? Probably neither.

6) Don’t get fooled by television advertising. Certain insurance companies will spend millions on advertising and make their plans sound like “the best thing since sliced bread”. If you read points 1-5, you should begin to understand that there is no one size fits all.

7) Not working with a qualified professional who represents multiple companies, commonly referred to as a broker. The word broker seems to have some negative connotations; however by definition they will be able to offer you a multitude of options. This is very important because although they have a vested interest in making you a client (selling you insurance), they get paid from whatever company they place you with, which allows them to be unbiased with plan and company selection allowing you to utilize their expertise. They will pair you with the best company at the lowest cost in a plan that fits you.