Don’t Be Fooled! We’re Debunking The 8 Biggest Medicare Myths

Nov 4, 2021 | Medicare, Medicare Supplement


Don’t Be Fooled! We’re Debunking The 8 Biggest Medicare Myths

What’s true and what’s false when it comes to Medicare and the benefits it provides for its members can feel extremely overwhelming. After all, nearly 62 million Americans (nearly 18% of the entire population) are enrolled in Medicare plans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. And those numbers continue to grow. 

Whether you are a caretaker or new to Medicare coverage yourself, you may be surprised to know the following things about your care. Here are eight Medicare myths debunked, according to Medicare experts.  

8 Medicare Myths Debunked

Myth #1: Medicare provides long-term care.

“One common source of confusion is around long-term care benefits, such as care in a nursing home,” says Jane Sung, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor in AARP’s Public Policy Institute. “Medicare does not cover long term care, personal care, custodial care, or 24-hour care in the home.”

Myth #2: You can pay cash for physician’s visits with medicare.

“Many people may not know that it is possible to pay cash for a physician’s visit. There are more and more doctors who are accepting cash instead of or in addition to insurance and Medicare,” says Dr. Steven Goldstein, MD, founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative. “It is, and often the charges are less than what insurance companies would be billed. Doctors in private practice often prefer cash payments as the cost to administer insurance claims is an added expense that does not benefit the patient.”

Myth #3: Medicare didn’t change due to COVID-19.

“Medicare currently covers many items and services on a temporary basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Jennifer Podulka, MPA, Senior Consultant for Health Management Associates. “Absent Congressional or regulatory action to extend or make items permanent, this temporary coverage will end when the pandemic is officially declared over.”

Myth #4: It’s hard to get help with your Medicare plan.

“1-800-MEDICARE is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with help in English and Spanish as well as language support in over 200 languages,” says Alison Reeves, Press Officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Myth #5: Medicare is the same for everyone.

“Another common misconception is that Medicare is the same for everyone. This is not the case. First of all, there are two ways to get medical coverage, either through Original Medicare or through private Medicare Advantage plans,” says Sung. “Signing up for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage is another choice that consumers have. And finally, some people with Original Medicare also have supplemental coverage, such as through a separate Medigap plan.”

Myth #6: You can’t get one-on-one assistance.

“People enrolled in Medicare can contact their State Health Insurance Programs (SHIP) for one-on-one assistance,” says Reeves. “Local SHIP counselors are a valuable resource to help people find the plan that best fits their needs, since choosing the right plan can be very localized. SHIP counselors are especially helpful for people with limited health literacy, digital divide, several health or medication needs, and others who may have a disadvantage.”

Myth #7: Medicare is only for low-income populations.

“One other common misconception is that Medicare is only for people with lower incomes. That’s not the case, as everyone is eligible for Medicare at the age of 65, and some people at younger ages based on disability,” says Sung. “There is no income required to be eligible for Medicare, except that some higher-income people may be required to pay higher premiums.”       

Myth #8: There’s no way to rate and review Medicare services.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also publishes the Medicare Part C (which is Medicare Advantage) Star Ratings each year to measure the quality of health services received by people enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA),” says Reeves. “The Star Ratings also reflect the experiences of individuals (information comes from the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Survey) and assists people in finding the best plan for them. Medicare Plan Finder on is updated each October with the Star Ratings information for Part C. The information on also includes comparisons to Original Medicare for CAHPS measures. Additional information can be found about the Part C Star Ratings program at:”

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