The popular financial website Motley Fool (www.fool.com) always covers a wide range of stories in a clever, sometimes irreverent style. We like how the site tries to put things in down-to-earth terms, which is why we were drawn to a just published article about Medicare. Not only does the article briefly (and helpfully) describe each of Medicare’s four parts, it also lists ten common medical services that – generally speaking – original Medicare does not cover.
Clearly this is important information for retirees who may be operating under the wrong assumptions about their future medical insurance needs. Click here to access the Motley Fool article.
It’s no secret that medical costs keep rising, and so does the value of Medicare benefits – benefits which affect virtually every senior adult in America. The Urban Institute recently released a study estimating that, by 2030, the value of Medicare’s lifetime benefits to the average 65 year old couple will exceed $650,000. But in spite of its critical importance in the lives of seniors, much about Medicare remains misunderstood. As the Motley Fool article puts it, “if consumers don’t understand a program, they won’t be able to take full advantage of it.”
For example, a study by United Healthcare in 2013 showed that at least one fifth of American seniors called Medicare “confusing.” People still don’t fully understand which of Medicare’s parts (A, B, C and D) covers what, and which ones carry a premium. With typical understatement, the Motley Fool says, “It would appear that the biggest obstacle the program faces is an educational shortfall.”
The article then briefly describes which part covers what. We won’t go into further detail here, but if this is something you’ve wondered about – as many of our clients have – this article is a good place to start.
Then the Motley Fool piece lists ten medical services seniors may have thought would be covered by “basic” Medicare (parts A and B) but which in most cases will not be. (There are some exceptions.) For example:
• If you’re traveling or living outside the U.S. your medical needs will almost certainly not be covered by Medicare A or B.
• For hearing aids and routine eye exams and glasses you’ll be on your own – these are not generally covered by original Medicare.
• Don’t count on Medicare A or B for routine dental care or foot care.
• If you prefer alternative treatments such as acupuncture or homeopathy, those services will not be covered by Medicare A or B.
• Cosmetic surgery is generally not covered if it’s elective. It may be covered as a result of disease or accident.
• Unless you’re recuperating in a skilled nursing facility, you shouldn’t expect Medicare A or B to cover custodial care – in other words, the kind of care an assisted living facility or home health care worker might provide. Odds are you’ll be responsible for these costs.
• Some diabetes supplies may not be covered, or may be covered only partially.
The point is clear: if you haven’t thought about medical costs as you age, you may be in for a shock. So our question is, have you considered how to meet your medical needs in retirement? A surprising number of seniors have not – which is why we strongly urge you to attend one of our LifePlanning Seminars where we review all five of the essential facets of a solid retirement plan. We’ll help you consider medical needs, financial plans, legal affairs, housing options and family relationships, so you can protect your assets and avoid becoming a burden to those you love.
Space at our LifePlanning Seminars is limited, so register today. Click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website. LifePlanning Seminars are offered at no cost, but the information is priceless. We’ll look forward to meeting you at a future seminar.
(originally reported at www.fool.com)