Health News Update: Retirement Considerations

Health news pertinent to all of us is being presented daily.  Here are a few items which might be of interest to you and your family; particularly as you prepare for retirement and obtain your health care through the Medicare program.

Health News: Out of Pocket cost of Care in Retirement

The latest predictions are that the average retired couple can expect to pay at least $300,000 in addition to their Medicare fees.  This estimate seems to be increasing approximately $25,000 annually.  Start saving now if you are not retired.  If you are already retired, I suggest you discuss your specific situation with your financial advisor to prepare for the unexpected health events which might occur.

Medicare Health News: There’s an App for That

Medicare.gov has created a “What’s covered” app.  It is also available in Spanish. You can find the items and services which are covered by Medicare A and/or Part B, how to obtain your covered benefits, and basic cost information.

The app will not be able to answer your specific coverage and cost questions. This is a good resource for everyone who is utilizing the Medicare A & B programs.

Health News: The Medicare Alphabet

Medicare benefits, costs, and administration continue to be routinely part of  health news coverage. The four different components of Medicare are:

Part A: provides hospital, nursing home and qualified skilled home care services to those enrolled.

Part B: covers lab tests, doctor visits, and durable medical equipment.  There is a monthly premium for this optional coverage.  You must be enrolled in Part A.

Part C: Also known as the Advantage program.  This Medicare program is administered by private insurance companies rather than the federal government.  It covers both Medicare A, B, and D benefits and can also include additional benefits for those enrolled: vision, dental, health club, etc.

It is important to remember that once you are enrolled in a Part C program, you can change your provider of the C plan.  You cannot leave the Part C program, switch to Part A and then switch back to Part C.  Make your choices very carefully.

Part D: This is required for everyone actively using the Medicare A program.  This is the prescription drug component.  Before enrolling in this program, I encourage you to use the tools available on the Medicare.gov website: entering your current medications (including dosage and frequency of use).  You will then be provided the pharmacy options which provide your prescriptions in your area.  There will be price variations, so check the details before enrolling.

Supplemental Medicare coverage: This option is available for you to purchase separately from a private insurance provider. It can include medical coverage if you travel overseas, paying your Medicare part B premiums, among other benefits.  It is to assist you with a fixed cost program to assist you with expenses not covered by the Medicare A & B programs.  It is not available for those enrolled in Medicare C plans.

There are several plans which are offered.  Check the matrix on the Medicare website to determine which option is best for you.  Every insurance provider who offers which supplemental coverage provides the same coverage for every plan.  The difference is in the amount of the monthly premiums which they charge.

Remember: Similar to medical insurance enrollment, you only have the option of changing plans or coverage once a year during the open enrollment period.  Medicare enrollment is on an individual basis; different from family coverage options in your private insurance plans.

health news: Consolidation continues

CVS and Aetna are now merged. Amazon is entering the pharmaceutical delivery business.  Health insurance providers are buying physician practices. Hospitals continue to merge into even larger organizations.

Health news will continue to be important information to follow.  The manner in which we receive care, the amounts out of pocket we will be expected to pay for our health care, the services and way in which we can access care continue to change.  Don’t hesitate to ask questions of your employer benefit administrator, your insurance provider, your health care provider.

 

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