If you’ve paid into Medicare for most of your working year, you’ll be surprised to find that a couple can still spend an estimated $ 285,000 or more on their healthcare expenses after they retire. If you’re a single man, you should expect to spend around $ 135,000 on future health care costs. A single woman may need $ 150,000 because women tend to live longer.
People typically spend the above amounts on their Medigap supplements, plus their co-payments, deductibles, dental care, glasses, hearing aids, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and other expenses from the time they were Medicare from age 65 to start her death. These estimates DO NOT Provide your basic Medicare premiums or the money you spend on long-term care at the end of your life, which can be devastating for many families. Most people are not prepared for the high cost of medical care after they retire. Indeed, because people believe that their health care costs will decrease after taking Medicare, they are often shocked at how much medical expenses they actually have!
In addition to the above costs, many newly retired seniors are surprised to find that they have to pay monthly premiums for their basic services that are likely to be deducted from their social security benefits. You won’t get nearly as much income as planned. It is known that the high cost of health care practically nullifies the life savings of many retirees.
Even if you think you saved a lot of money, paid off your debts, and prepared to cover your living expenses when you retired, you may not have prepared enough to cover all of your future health costs. In fact, people over the age of 75 are estimated to spend 20 percent of their total income on medical expenses, and this amount often grows even faster than their income from the Center for Retirement Research, according to a published report by Rutledge and Sanzenbacher in 2018.
Here are some of the expenses you need to consider:
Even though you’ve paid into Medicare for years, the only part of the program that’s free is part A or hospitalization. Even then, only 80 percent of hospital costs will be covered. You pay a premium for Part B, yours Services from doctors and other healthcare providers, outpatient care. durable medical devices, home care and some preventive services.
In 2020, the Part B premium started at around $ 144.60 a month. The premium is deducted from most pensioners’ social security benefits every month. If the pensioner receives a public pension (e.g. retired teachers and government employees), he can pay an even higher premium directly to the social security agency to cover his Medicare benefits. High-income retirees are also expected to pay a higher Medicare premium.
The Medicare premium increases in most years and it is not uncommon for the premium increase to completely wipe out an increase in social security benefits. As a result, rising Medicare premiums often cause people to gradually fall behind inflation, making it even more difficult for them to keep up with other expenses, including their growing medical costs.
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Medicare Supplements or Medigap Policies
As mentioned above, Basic Medicare only covers about 80 percent of your medical bills. Deductibles and co-payments are paid by the pensioner. For this reason, many people buy Medicare Supplement or Medigap guidelines to “close the gaps”. There are a number of plans, and the cost can add several hundred dollars a month to your monthly bills. This is in addition to the premium you have to pay for basic Medicare care.
Even if you have a supplement or a Medigap plan, it usually doesn’t offer any dental benefits, glasses,
Contact lenses, hearing aids, and other common medical necessities.
Medicare Part D covers the cost of prescription drugs. As with Part B, there is an additional premium that you have to pay to have a medication plan. You can get a Part-D policy from the same company that provides your Medigap plan, or you can purchase a plan from another company. Your pharmacist can help you choose the best plan for you. Like the premium for your Basic Medicare Part B, your Part D prescription plan can be deducted from your social security benefits and range from $ 12 to $ 77 a month. You should also be aware that most Part D prescription medication plans also require patients to pay a portion or part of the cost of their medication. Without a prescription plan, however, your medication could cost hundreds of dollars a month. Therefore, it is important to have a prescription medication plan.
Hearing and vision tests
Half of Americans over 75 have hearing loss. Millions of seniors have some kind of vision loss. Medicare Parts A, B and D do not cover exams for these health problems. They also do not cover glasses and hearing aids. Many retirees also have dental problems, and out-of-pocket costs can be very high, especially if they need crowns, caps, dentures, or implants. None of this is covered by Medicare. You may want a separate dentist plan to help you with some of these expenses … another premium that you have to pay.
A Medicare Advantage Part C plan may be the least expensive choice
There is a way to significantly reduce your retirement medical costs. When you’re ready to join an HMO medical network and take advantage of the doctors and medical facilities that are part of that network, you can save hundreds of dollars a month in Medigap and Part-D premiums by signing up for a Medicare Advantage Register plan. These plans also apply to Medicare Part C.
Most Medicare Advantage Part C plans only charge their members the same premium you would pay for basic Medicare anyway, or they may charge a small additional fee in the range of $ 40 to $ 50, but not nearly so is as high as the cost of a Medigap plan plus an additional Part-D plan and other non-covered medical expenses.
If you choose a Medicare Advantage Part C plan such as SCAN, Kaiser Permanente, Humana, Aetna or any other company, the insurer must provide all of the services that Medicare provides. In addition, they often include a prescription schedule with no additional premium. Often the plan also includes a discount on dental work, visual aids and / or hearing aids. Even if you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, you should still expect to pay some deductibles and co-payments. While the policy may give you discounts on vision, dental, and hearing care, these items are not fully covered, and you are still expected to pay a large part of the cost yourself. Despite these remaining costs, you will almost always find that a Medicare Advantage plan is much cheaper than a basic Medicare plan, as well as a Medigap plan, a medication plan, and a dentist plan. You could save hundreds of dollars a month.
Personally, my husband and I use the Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage Plan (called Senior Advantage), which saves us thousands of dollars annually compared to what we did in early retirement for basic Medicare expenses, an Anthem Blue Cross Medigap plan, and have issued a drug plan. We were very happy with Kaiser. The disadvantage is that we limit ourselves to Kaiser’s internal doctors and institutions, except in an emergency. However, when my husband fell ill in another state where Kaiser was absent, Kaiser reimbursed us our expenses. The savings were worth it for us.
A health savings account could also help cover your own expenses
Another way to deal with the high cost of health care after retirement is to prepare years in advance by saving money on a health savings account. Currently, one person can raise $ 3,000 a year in an HSA and a family can raise $ 7,000. People over the age of 55 can save an additional $ 1,000 per year. While people can make withdrawals before retirement, the money in these accounts can also be invested and growing until needed after retirement. However, the money can only be used in conjunction with a highly deductible HSA health insurance plan. This requires some planning ahead, but can be a solution for people who don’t want to use a Medicare Advantage plan.
It is recommended that you do your research and work carefully with a health insurance agent to find the plan that best suits your needs.
Long-term care is the big unknown
Most of the above expenses, including premiums, deductibles, and co-payments, can be estimated quite well as part of your retirement savings. However, if you or your spouse need long-term care at home or in an assisted living or memory facility in old age, the cost can be catastrophic. It is best to take out long-term care insurance or hybrid life insurance that includes long-term care insurance. The other option is to save an additional $ 300,000 on a separate account for your future care so you have the money when you need it.
It is said that the very rich and the very poor do not need long-term care insurance. This is because the rich can afford to pay for the help they need. At the other end of the spectrum, those with low income and wealth will find that long-term care may be covered by Medicaid. Ironically, the middle class is most affected by the cost of long-term care. If you fall into this group, you need to prepare in advance. If you need long-term care, it is too late to take out insurance. You have to buy it years in advance.
What is the likelihood that you or your spouse will need long-term care? For the most part, it depends on how long you live and how you are. It can also make a difference whether you live alone or not. People living alone may need care earlier than someone who has a spouse or family member who has taken care of them in the past few years of their lives. People with chronic diseases such as COPD or other lung problems, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, history of stroke, severe osteoporosis or cancer are more likely to need long-term care. Such are those who live long enough to develop memory problems. At the age of 80, a person is at 10 percent risk of serious cognitive impairment. At 85, the risk increases to 20 percent. At 90 years old, your risk is 40 percent and increases with age. Even without other chronic illnesses, the possibility of aging can increase your need for long-term care.
Basically, almost everyone has to plan a period in which they need long-term care due to age-related debilitating health problems, which ultimately makes it impossible for them to take care of their own needs. Overall, a person who is 65 now has a 70 percent chance of eventually needing some kind of long-term care! Are you prepared?
Are you prepared for high healthcare costs?
The general consensus is that retirees must be prepared for high medical expenses in the last two or three decades of their lives. Depending on their needs, they can prepare for it by saving enough money in advance, signing up for an affordable Medicare Advantage plan, and / or including long-term care insurance in their plans.
Part of your retirement savings should include a plan to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Research has shown time and again that the people who need least long-term care are the ones who have taken care of themselves. This means that they have a healthy and varied diet, have regularly exercised outdoors, have learned to deal with stress, have slept seven to nine hours a night, have avoided smoking or heavy drinking, and have followed the recommendations of their personal doctor are.
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