Are you approaching retirement and starting to think about your future health care coverage? If you’re like many retirees, you might assume that Medicare will cover most of your medical expenses. That’s partly true. Medicare parts A and B provide significant coverage for hospitalizations and doctor visits. If you opt for Medicare Part D, you will also have coverage for a portion of your prescription drug costs.
Medicare doesn’t cover everything, though. In fact, Fidelity recently estimated that the average 65-year-old couple will face nearly $245,000 in medical expenses in retirement above and beyond the coverage provided by Medicare.1 Those out-of-pocket costs consist of expenses like copays, deductibles and premiums.
There are other health care costs not covered by Medicare. Below are three common health care expenses that you may have to pay out of pocket. If you don’t have a plan to manage these costs, now may be the time to develop one.
Vision, Hearing and Dental Visits
Most employer-sponsored plans provide coverage for vision, hearing and dental at a relatively affordable price, so many retirees are surprised to learn that these services aren’t included in Medicare coverage. To get this coverage, you may need to look into a supplemental Medicare Advantage plan, which is usually offered by a private insurer and bundles Medicare coverage with other protection.
There are some exceptions to this. Medicare may cover vision, hearing or dental costs if they are related to a specific medical condition. For instance, if you have cataracts, the treatment may be covered. However, don’t expect Medicare to cover a regular vision check or a routine dental cleaning.
Overseas Medical Care
Do your retirement plans include travel abroad? Do you want to see the world? Or maybe even live part of the year in another country? An international adventure may be a critical component of your dream retirement, but it can create some complex health care challenges.
That’s because Medicare doesn’t usually cover health care provided overseas. If you will be spending extensive time abroad, you may want to look into backup coverage. Your destination country may provide government-backed care to visitors and expat residents. You may also want to buy a supplemental health insurance policy that provides coverage in that country.
Long-term care is likely to be a very real need for many retirees. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the average 65-year-old has a 70 percent chance of needing long-term care at some point.2
Long-term care generally refers to extended assistance with basic living activities such as bathing, walking, eating and more. It’s usually provided either in the home or in a facility. Medicare may cover such care on a short-term and partial basis if the care is part of a rehabilitative program related to a specific hospitalization. However, don’t think of Medicare as a long-term solution.
Instead, look into other options. Consider funding your health savings account (HSA) or even buying a long-term care insurance policy. Medicaid could be another coverage option, but you have to have few assets and little income to qualify.
Do you need a more robust health care funding plan? Let’s talk about it. Contact us at Benefit Resource Partners for more information. We can analyze your risks and your coverage, and recommend a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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