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Why Is Medicare So Difficult?

Sep 08, 2016

Slide rule.jpg“My name is Dave and I give up! I’m turning 65. I tried to figure out Medicare but I just can’t do it. Why does this have to be so tough?”

It seems, for those turning 65, Medicare can be overwhelming. The more you read about Medicare, the less sense it seems to make. It's overwhelming and people just quit. We don’t have a good answer for why it’s so difficult but we can identify some contributing factors.

  • The deluge of information: Those approaching their 65th birthday likely need a new mailbox. It seems as though every plan in town sends something.
  • The dearth of relevant information: In all that mail, there is not one notice that says, “Hey, it’s time to enroll in Medicare.”
  • The variety of enrollment periods: There are six different times for Medicare action that include “enrollment” in the title, such as the Initial Enrollment Period, General Enrollment Period, and Open Enrollment Period. Then, there are more than 25 special enrollment periods, those times when one can take action outside of the Initial Enrollment Period. 
  • The Social Security Administration: Social Security is in charge of Medicare enrollment, along with dozens of other important concerns. It has only one telephone number, (800) 772-1213, and customer service woes with busy signals and waiting times of more than 15 minutes.

Knowing what you need to do and when to do it is like figuring out a slide rule—so many moving parts that don't always make sense. Where can you turn for help? 65 Incorporated’s mission is to help people make smart Medicare decisions. Check out these resources:


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