Common Medicare Mistake Married Couples Make
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes all the financial benefits of marriage. If you’ve been married for a long time, then you probably have already reaped some of the financial benefits that come from being married, like better mortgage rates, better rates on home and auto insurance, and probably one of the biggest advantages – savings on health insurance. But how does marriage affect your Medicare benefits? Are premiums cheaper if you and your spouse are on the same plan? Unfortunately, these questions lead to one of the biggest mistakes married couples make when applying for Medicare. Keep reading to find out the most common Medicare mistake married couples.
Common Medicare Mistake Made by Married Couples
The most common mistake married couples make when applying for Medicare is thinking they need to choose the same plan as their spouse. They don’t. Medicare is an individual plan, there is no family plan. As a result, you and your spouse should choose a plan that is based on your individual health needs. There are a variety of plans available to Medicare beneficiaries so while one plan may be best for your partner, it may not be the best choice for you. Even if you and your spouse choose identical Medicare health plans, you will still pay separate premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
What each spouse should consider before choosing a Medicare Plan
- Health Needs
Each spouse should look at their health needs separately and choose a plan accordingly. For instance, one spouse may have an illness that requires frequent doctor visits. In that case, that spouse will need a plan that caters to their specific needs.
- Doctors and Specialists
Do you have a favorite Doctor that you would like to keep? Or does your health status require you to see a specialist? Some Medicare plans, like Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), allow you to see any provider or doctor that accepts Medicare. While other Medicare plans, like a Medicare Advantage plan, have a specific network of doctors to choose from.
When it comes to prescription drug coverage you have two options – a stand-alone Part D drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan. Again, each spouse should look at their prescription drug needs separately. Think about which medications you take and how many. Each prescription drug plan differs on the list (formularies) of prescription drugs they offer as well as the different tiers each drug falls in. Costs can increase for drugs that are on higher tiers. Since medication needs differ between individuals, there is no right or wrong plan prescription drug plan to choose from.
- Dental, Vision, or Hearing Coverage
When choosing a Medicare plan it is important to consider whether or not dental, vision, or hearing coverage is important to you. Original Medicare does not cover these services. Some Medicare Advantage plans do cover these services. Some individuals also choose to have these services covered by a private insurance company.