Common Medicare Mistakes and How an Experienced New York Elder Law Attorney Can Help Protect You

by David Goldfarb

Medicare involves a complicated legal structure of federal statutes and regulations. Beneficiaries can find eligibility, coverage, and appeals decisions difficult to initiate, or even understand. Medicare recipients, however, must understand the coverages to which they are legally entitled. Costly Medicare mistakes can financially devastate Medicare recipients on fixed incomes.

Here, the experienced elder law attorneys at Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin explain some of the most common mistakes made by Medicare recipients—and what you can do to ensure appropriate coverage for yourself and your loved ones.

Sign up on Time

In most cases, the age for Medicare enrollment is 65. Beneficiaries who miss the deadline and enroll after 65 and 4 months of age can subject themselves to late enrollment penalties.

This is an easy mistake to make. The full retirement age for Social Security, for example, is not the same as the Medicare enrollment age. Baby Boomers born after 1943 are generally subject to a full retirement age of 66 or older (depending on the year in which they were born).

These different deadlines are easy to confuse. Retirees must understand which enrollment deadlines apply to them to avoid penalties and enjoy the maximum coverage period for which they are eligible.

Enroll in the Appropriate Part

Medicare offers several Parts. Part A covers hospital and in-patient medical care. Part B covers most office visits and other routine medical care. Part D coverage acts as insurance for prescription medication coverage. Many other types of voluntary coverage are available to Medicare beneficiaries through the purchase of Medicare Supplemental Insurance called Medigap. Find the plans that are right for your particular circumstances.

Medicare beneficiaries also need to understand how each part of Medicare coverage works with an employer-sponsored health insurance program. As more Americans delay their retirements, many find themselves eligible for Medicare benefits while still covered by health insurance through their employers.

CNBC reports that employers with fewer than 20 employees can lawfully exclude workers ages 65 and older from their insurance programs because these workers are eligible for Medicare coverage. Workers who retain their employer’s health insurance while also enrolling in Medicare can face hefty premiums through the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount. The IRMAA is used to determine a beneficiary’s premium for Part B and D coverage. As a result, employees who have adequate health insurance coverage from an employer may find their increased premiums make the benefits of Part B or D coverage cost prohibitive.

Protect Your Right to Medicare Benefits With the Assistance of a New York Elder Law Attorney

Appropriate Medicare coverage is a vital step toward financial planning for any senior citizen. The elder law attorneys at Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin have decades of experience in helping seniors assert their rights to Medicare coverage. We advise seniors in applying for Medicare coverage, challenging eligibility determinations, appealing denied claims, and understanding the extent of coverage available to them. Call (212) 387-8400 today to schedule a consultation with an experienced New York elder law attorney.