MEDICARE AND YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE
Most discussions about Medicare, Medicare Supplemental insurance, and Medicare Advantage plans revolve around healthcare. However, there’s a financial component, too. If you’re not thinking about your financial future, it’s time to start now.
Medicare, Medicare Supplemental insurance, and Medicare Advantage plans can prove confusing for current and prospective retirees. Which do you need? And how do you know that you’ll have good healthcare throughout your retirement?
Often, Original Medicare beneficiaries ask all the right questions about their health, but fail to consider their financial futures. It’s common to assume that the infrastructure provided will ensure you enjoy a comfortable retirement: Medicare, 401(k)s, Social Security Disability, and more.
Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple.
Taking an active role in “Awaring” yourself about your options can make a huge impact on your financial future. Whether you go with Medicare Supplemental insurance, Medicare Advantage, or something different, you need all the facts.
This is especially true when you’re approaching retirement. You might think you have tons of time, but learning about your options and needs can take time. You don’t want to squander any of it.
Let’s explore the ways in which Medicare impacts your finances.
MEDICARE AND FINANCES
Most of us understand, at least broadly, what Medicare provides. It’s a government program to which you contribute through payroll taxes that helps cover some of your healthcare costs after retirement.
When you retire, you typically lose your group insurance, which means you need another type of insurance to make sure you’re not covering your healthcare bills entirely out-of-pocket. Medicare works fine on its own for some beneficiaries, but others need more help.
Original Medicare consists of Parts A and B. Part A covers your hospital costs as well as a few extras, such as skilled nursing facility care, while Part B covers doctors’ visits and certain types of durable medical equipment.
Medicare Parts A and B both have deductibles as well as associated coinsurance and copayments. In other words, you might have to spend a certain amount of money before you insurance kicks in, and you might have to pay a percentage of a bill or a flat copay.
That’s where Medicare Supplemental insurance and Medicare Advantage plans come into play.
ORIGINAL MEDICARE VERSUS MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS VERSUS MEDICARE SUPPLEMENTAL INSURANCE
Original Medicare includes Parts A and B as described above. Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplemental insurance are often confused, but they are two separate products.
Medicare Supplemental insurance is a separate insurance policy you buy to cover expenses related to Medicare Parts A and B. The most comprehensive plan, Medigap Plan F, covers all of your deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments, in addition to other benefits. However, Plan F is no longer available to new enrollees starting January 1, 2020. Medigap Plan G is the next most comprehensive plan, which covers everything that Plan F covers, except for your Medicare Part B deductible.
You can choose from 10 different Medicare Supplemental insurance policies. Each provides a different level of coverage. The greater the coverage, the more you’ll pay every month for your premium. However, your out-of-pocket healthcare costs are reduced.
Medicare Advantage, also called Medicare Part C, is an insurance policy that takes over your Medicare Parts A and B services. You’ll continue to pay your Part B premium, but you’ll also pay a separate premium to the insurer who offers your Medicare Advantage plan.
The format of a Medicare Advantage plan might look familiar to you because it resembles a group insurance plan. The most common types are HMOs and PPOs. An HMO generally restricts you to a list of participating doctors and hospitals, while a PPO will cover out-of-network providers, but you’ll pay more for those services.
WHAT DOESN’T MEDICARE COVER?
Many people assume Medicare covers things like nursing home treatment, dental care, vision care, and hearing aids. In reality, Medicare only covers nursing home stays in a very narrow set of circumstances, and Medicare doesn’t cover hearing, vision, or dental.
There are a few exceptions. For instance, if your primary care physician thinks that you might need a hearing and balance test to check for a specific disease, Medicare will cover it. So will Medicare Supplemental insurance plans and Medicare Advantage plans.
However, unless you’re receiving treatment for a medically necessary procedure, you’re often out of luck.
Getting separate vision and dental insurance can help you prepare better financially for retirement. So can researching the Medicare Supplemental insurance plans as well as Medicare Advantage plans.
HOW CAN MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES PROTECT THEIR FINANCIAL FUTURES?
The important thing to remember about Medicare, supplemental insurance, and other options is that they all have a financial impact. For instance, if you have Medicare Supplemental insurance, you must pay the premium each month to keep it active. Additionally, if you’re charged a deductible, copayment, or coinsurance, you’re responsible for that as well.
Healthcare expenses nearly triple for retirees compared to when they were working. As we get older, we need more healthcare services, which can mean steep bills.
In addition to joining a Medicare Supplemental insurance plan, you might decide to set up a savings account specifically for healthcare expenses. Contribute to it monthly just like you would to any other bill.
Consider your lifestyle. For instance, do you love to travel abroad? Consider a Medicare Supplemental insurance plan that covers overseas emergencies. Some Medicare Advantage plans also offer worldwide coverage, but typically only for emergencies.
Additionally, make sure you know your rights and your local options. For instance, make a list of general practitioners and specialists in your area who accept patients with Medicare. Do the same for hospitals and urgent care centers.
HOW SHOULD RETIREES PLAN FOR HEALTHCARE COSTS?
The best thing you can do to plan for your financial future is to conduct detailed comparison shopping. The more you know about your options, the more money you can save.
For instance, every Medicare Supplemental insurance plan is the same regardless of which insurer you choose. With this knowledge in hand, you can select the least expensive option.
If you’re thinking about buying other insurance products, carefully review the premium and coverage within the context of what you’ll pay out-of-pocket. In some cases, insurance saves money over the long haul. In others, you’ll pay more for the policy than you would have out-of-pocket.
Finally, don’t forget to save for your healthcare costs. Even if you never need that money, you’ll feel safer knowing it’s there.
Medicare, supplemental insurance, Medicare Advantage, and other insurance options can seem confusing. You’re not alone.
That’s why visiting Ensurem can provide welcome relief. Instead of calling every insurance company in the phone book, you can get quotes on Medicare Supplemental insurance and Medicare Advantage from one place.
Prepare yourself for both financial hurdles and healthcare needs as you near retirement age. Knowing as much as you can about Medicare Supplemental insurance will make your journey far less stressful.