Tips on Understanding Medicare Options

Understanding Medicare options is not easy. Nearly everyone knows that Medicare is a government program that provides for a retiree that is 65 years of age or older. However, most people do not understand what is or is not provided by Medicare. Every person approaching retirement should take the time to find out about Medicare. This can save a person hassles and unexpected surprises down the line. Following is an overview of Medicare, what it does and does not provide, and who is eligible to receive this type of medical care:


An Overview of Medicare

There are actually three parts to Medicare. To make understanding Medicare options simple, these will be referred to as part one, part two and part three. The first part of Medicare includes coverage for hospital bills, some health care bills and hospice care. A US citizen or resident over the age of 65 is eligible for this free of charge if he or she has paid into Social Security for at least ten years. Part two covers doctor visits and outpatient care. It also covers some health care, therapy and preventative screening.

A senior citizen over the age of 65 can qualify for this if he or she has a chronic kidney disease or has been receiving SS benefits for at least two years. Part three of Medicare is what is commonly known as Medicare Advantage. A person that has access to this will have the most coverage; however, this coverage is not free and one will be limited as to where he or she can get medical care. Which state a senior lives in has a bearing on whether or not he or she would have access to this plan.

Besides understanding Medicare options, one should also understand the advantages and disadvantages offered. Medicare’s main advantage is that it will cover any senior citizen that meets the simple requirements listed above. However, it is limiting. A person may not be able to go to the hospital or hospice of his or her choice.


Other Health Care Options

Understanding Medicare options is important, but one should also realize that Medicare is not the only type of health coverage. Many retirees opt to take out health insurance if they can afford it. While it can be difficult to find an insurance agency that will provide this form of insurance, it is not entirely impossible. Understanding health insurance options is, unfortunately, about as difficult as understanding Medicare options. There is a lot of fine print and the exact policy will vary a bit depending on which insurance agency a person works with. It is always advisable to read the entire contract carefully. Note that if anything is not specifically covered on the contract, it will not be covered by the health insurance policy.

An insurance agency will usually require that a senior citizen take a full medical exam. An elderly person who is in good health and who does not have pre-existing medical conditions will usually qualify for health insurance. However, a senior citizen with existing health problems will often be rejected for coverage.

In such a case, a person may want to consider retirement insurance. This form of insurance does not specifically cover medical care, but it can help to cover the costs of medical bills. A person would pay into this insurance policy starting at the age of 65. The policy will start paying the person back once he or she reaches the age of 85. This policy is good because one does not have to have extensive medical exams in order to qualify. However, one does have to wait for 20 years before seeing any income from it.


In Closing

Understanding Medicare options and other health care options is important. It has been estimated that the average retiree will spend $100,000 on medical bills over the course of 20 years. This figure does not include dental work or over the counter medicines. It is a fact that a person’s body will deteriorate as he or she gets older. One should look into medical options early one and choose the one that best suits his or her needs and budget.


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