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Medicare Essentials for Seniors

Those who turn 65 this year are likely to have retirement and savings in mind. But do these savings already represent health care costs?

At age 65, the average retired couple, whether or not they are enrolled in Medicare, should have $ 300,000 saved in health care costs alone, according to the estimated health care costs for Medicare. Fidelity retirees. In fact, Fidelity estimates that 15% of a retiree’s annual expenses will go to Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

However, Medicare can provide widespread coverage and lower costs than employer-sponsored health plans, says Corey Metzman, co-founder and chief operating officer of the Medicare Chapter counseling firm. It’s just a matter of knowing what Medicare plans work for the individual.

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“We recommend that people start thinking about Medicare long before they retire,” says Metzman. “And once Americans turn 65, even if they’re still working, they can get Medicare, have phenomenal coverage, and save money before they retire.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 93% of primary care physicians accept Medicare and 72% of Medicare providers accept new Medicare patients. However, depending on the health plan sponsored by an employee’s employer, the potential for savings may vary.

Medicare is not presented as a complete and unique plan; instead, it is divided into parts. Medicare Part A is hospital insurance and covers hospital care, home care, hospital care, and home care. If the enrollee has worked for about 10 years and paid their Medicare taxes, Part A will have a $ zero premium. Medicare Part B, on the other hand, covers mental health care, ambulance services, medical supplies needed for diagnosis and treatment, and clinical research, and on average has a premium of $ 170. per month; this increases if you have earned more than $ 91,000 in the last two. years. Combined, parts A and B are called original Medicare. Most people receive the original Medicare in the initial enrollment period, which begins three months before a person turns 65 and ends three months after their 65th birthday. But for full coverage, the costs don’t end there.

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“There are some gaps in coverage that people need to keep in mind when enrolling in Medicare,” Metzman says. “Original Medicare does not cover prescription, dental, vision, or hearing medications, so people typically choose to purchase additional coverage to fill those gaps.”

There are some ways to address the gaps in the original Medicare. Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage plans, are plans provided by Medicare-approved private companies and may include visual, auditory, and dental coverage, as well as health and wellness programs. Most of these plans also add Medicare Part D, which is prescription drug coverage.

“It’s a joint benefit, and premiums are usually low if not free, as the government reimburses these insurance companies,” Metzman says. “People who care a little more about what their monthly premiums will be would choose this option.”

However, these plans can have disadvantages. For example, the network of health care providers is usually limited, and while deductibles are usually low, benefit plans usually charge a copay with each doctor’s visit, test, and service received.

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If you want more flexibility and little or no out-of-pocket costs, you can combine original Medicare with Medicare supplemental insurance. Also known as Medigap, these plans cover costs that Original Medicare does not cover, such as copayments, deductibles, and health care expenses if you travel outside the United States. On the downside, this means that a person would normally have to pay for prescription drugs and other additional services without insurance or add more policies, such as Medicare Part D. In addition, premiums are higher and vary depending on the Location and Gender: The popular Medigap Plan, Medicare Plan F, costs $ 306 a month for all genders in New York, but costs about $ 139 for men and $ 121 for women in Austin, Texas.

“We see wealthier people opting for Medicare supplements because they like peace of mind and flexibility,” says Metzman. “It’s another coverage philosophy, where you can and are willing to pay out of pocket or buy stand-alone policies for dentistry, vision and hearing.”

Beyond coverage, Metzman points out that people should be aware of penalties for late enrollment. If a person lost the initial enrollment period, a lifetime penalty in the form of a higher Part B premium is added. By registering in this initial period, registrants can also avoid underwriting, which is when health insurers review a person’s medical history to determine if they will offer coverage and what premiums to charge. However, if someone misses the initial enrollment period, there is a general enrollment period between January 1st and March 31st, and coverage would begin on July 1st.

Medicare can provide cost-effective, inclusive coverage, but enrollees must be baffled by plans that will work for their lifestyles, health, and budgets. Metzman advises employers to offer Medicare-experienced resources and counselors to their workforce, and encourages people to start asking questions about it sooner rather than later.

“There are more than 20,000 permutations of Medicare plans nationwide,” he says. “We need to help people decide how, when and where to sign up for Medicare.”

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