The COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous problems for older Americans, and that’s especially so for those who are trying to enroll in Medicare during this crisis.
The ripple effects of the enrollment problems are far-reaching and unexpected, and that has created the need for would-be Medicare beneficiaries to start planning early, says Jae Oh, author of Maximize Your Medicare.
“The bottom line: Don’t delay enrolling for Medicare,” he says. “You can only do this online now, and that is leading to problems.”
According to Oh, this becomes complicated for those who are over 65, and applying for Medicare. “The reason is that there are other forms to submit, and the handling of those forms, and the information from those forms, is highly prone to error,” he says. “The result of these errors can be that the wrong dates are appearing on your Medicare card.”
And since the insurance carriers rely solely on the information in the Medicare system, that means your "cut off dates" for enrolling in Medicare Advantage, Medigap, and Part D are all affected, says Oh.
“And, you can presume that getting this corrected will take months,” he says.
Note: There has been no delay to approve of Medicare Advantage, Part D, or Medigap. “The problem starts with enrollment into original Medicare, the federally-issued card,” says Oh.