To say that Medicare is a labyrinth of legal jargon that's beyond the comprehension of the average American is an understatement. When it comes to Medicare and a Texas Medicare supplement, what you don't know can definitely hurt you.
In fact, many people simply don't have the right information to make educated decisions - something that could come to haunt them down the road. Here are some common myths about Medicare, and some facts about finding a Medicare supplement in Texas.
Myth #1: Medicare automatically covers me after I retire.
Retirement and Medicare are unrelated. Unless you receive Medicare for a disability, you must be 65 years old in order to be eligible for Medicare benefits.
Myth #2: The government will automatically enroll me in Medicare.
You won't necessarily receive automatic enrollment; rather, it depends upon your work history. If you've worked 40 quarters in the United States, you'll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A. If you started receiving Social Security benefits when you were 62, you'll automatically be enrolled in Part B, but have the option of declining the coverage if you're covered by, for example, a group health plan.
If you haven't worked 40 quarters, you have to enroll in Medicare through your local Social Security office. Similarly, if you aren't collecting Social Security benefits, you have to go to the Social Security office to enroll in Part B.
Myth #3: Medicare will cover all of my medical expenses.
In truth, Medicare Part A covers your room and board while you're in the hospital or in a skilled nursing facility. It doesn't cover any medical services. Plus, there's a $1,000 deductible for the length of your stay in the hospital, plus 60 days. In other words, if you spend a couple of days in the hospital in January, and have to go back in April, you'll have to pay $1,000 each time.
Medicare Part B partially covers services like doctors' fees, lab visits, costs associated with surgery, x-rays, and so forth. Typically, you have to pay a deductible each year, as well as 20 percent of your medical bills. Keep in mind that, if you receive care that is not covered by Medicare, you'll be responsible for 100 percent of the cost.
Myth #4: Medicare Parts C and D will fill in the gaps in my coverage.
Medicare Parts C and D are seemingly even more convoluted than Parts A and B. Part C is optional coverage offered by private insurance companies. In order to get Part C, you have to give up your coverage under Parts A and B. Part D is optional prescription drug coverage that has myriad variables, such as premiums, co-pays, coverage gaps, and co-insurance. You can choose which prescription drug plan best fits your needs.
Finding a Good Medicare Supplement
When you have gaps in your medical insurance, it's as though you're constantly standing on a precipice, never knowing if an illness or hospitalization is going to wipe out your life savings, force you to sell your home, or otherwise wreak havoc on your finances. With the right Medicare supplement in Texas, however, you can fill in the gaps and limit your medical expenses to your cost of Part B, Part D, and the supplement.
Fortunately, it's easy to find the best Texas Medicare supplement for your needs. While calling one insurance company after another and trying to compare apples to oranges can be a nightmare, you can easily go online to find Medicare supplement quotes. The best companies allow you to fill out your information online, and even have agents who can instantly provide you with pricing for the 10 leading companies in the state. This way, you can find the best company and rate for your supplemental plan.