Health care options that will be perfect for your retirement: take these suggestions as a treat for you and our other readers about to turn 65! A whole new and fantastic life is in store for you, but of course, taking some precautionary measure to address retirement issues such as health and wealth needs is essential in securing brighter golden years.
As such, we’d like to share some health care options that you may want to consider. These options will help secure both wellness and financial issues that you may face – better prepared than never should always be what you have in mind.
Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans
Also known as Medigap, this insurance policy that we are continuously pushing for more awareness should be a basic necessity among baby boomers during retirement. As seen in our Medigap Plans Comparison Chart, there is a wide variety of Medicare Supplements that applicants can choose from.
The ten standardized Medigap policies, Plan A to Plan N (plans E, H, I, and J are discontinued) offer various benefits that will cater to any individual’s needs. With basic hospital and physician charges coverage, high-deductible plans, and additional benefits such as foreign travel coverage, applicants need to take the time to learn what a policy offers so that he or she purchases a plan that will best suit needs or preferences.
Regardless of which policy one wishes to purchase, here is the basic coverage provided by each plan:
- Coverage for Medicare Part A coinsurance charges
- Coverage for Medicare Part A copayments for hospice care
- Coverage for Medicare Part B copayments and coinsurance charges
- Coverage for the first three pints of blood in a calendar year
Flexible in providing coverage in paying for out-of-pocket fees (the “gaps,” such as coinsurance fees, copayments, and deductibles) not covered by Original Medicare Plans, Medigap plans also provide convenience during the application period.
For starters, private insurance companies sell Medicare Supplements. This allows applicants the opportunity to shop around the market to meet with different insurance agents and to compare Medicare Supplement costs.
Additionally (and perfect for those about to turn 65), enrolling during the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period (OEP) provides these benefits:
- No need to go through a medical underwriting process during this period (which means that applicants with health problems cannot be rejected a plan)
- Private insurance companies cannot refuse to sell any Medicare Supplement Plans it offers
- Private insurance companies cannot charge higher premiums
- The Medigap coverage start date cannot be delayed
The OEP begins during the month you turn 65. You must be enrolled in Medicare Part B as well.
In a nutshell, Medigap policies are crucial retirement health care options for these plans address the often expensive gaps that boomers face. We’ve highlighted this informative tidbit before, but we’d like to stress the Commonwealth Fund report again: 15 million Medicare beneficiaries spent approximately 20% of their household income on insurance premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs. The gaps alone can cost, at a per-year average, $3,024 – an expensive figure for boomers to manage!
Long Term Care Insurance
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there is a high chance that individuals turning 65 will need some form of long term care or custodial service during the twilight years. This is because that half of the “turning 65” population (at 52%) are at risk of developing a serious disability that will require some form of aid or long term care support.
And this is why purchasing a Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) policy is a great way to secure the golden years. As an insurance policy that will help pay for the expected custodial care, boomers can definitely safeguard their hard-earned nest egg from being depleted.
Here’s a snapshot to give you a better view on why tackling these long term care costs is important:
Monthly Costs for Long Term Care
- Adult Day Care – $1,473
- Assisted Living Facility Care – $3,628
- Home Health Aide – $3,861
- Nursing Home Care Support and Services – $7,698 (for private rooms)
The high costs of care, mainly from custodial support meant to address the activities of daily living (ADL) such as bathing, showering, eating, among others, can be an expensive amount to consider during the twilight years.
Another important factor to consider on why an LTCI is a crucial retirement health care option is because Medicare Supplements do not cover long term care support.
Boomers with limited funds or low income can consider Medicaid as a retirement health option. Jointly funded by states and the federal government, Medicaid offers health care coverage for people of all ages.
Medicaid eligibility is mainly determined by an individual’s income and size of family. Depending as well on the state, some Medicaid programs will cover adults below a certain income level. Additionally, individuals with high medical bills or are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) support can apply for Medicaid assistance.
Some benefits that Medicaid beneficiaries get are dental care coverage and hospice services coverage.
Direct Primary Care
A health care option that doesn’t involve insurance is Direct Primary Care (DPC). Considering that premium rates for insurance coverage (and the attached out-of-pocket health care costs) can be an expensive issue to deal with, a DPC offers a more flexible way for recipients to have access to required health care and support.
With this option, physicians now charge patients a flat rate (monthly, quarterly, or annually) for all the services they’ll be offering. Since a doctor may not be able to provide all the services that are expected (such as laboratory services), patients are suggested to have a supplemental high-deductible policy or a Health Savings Account (HSA) to cover for the affected services.
In a way, a DPC allows a boomer a flexible take on how to manage his or her funds. One can predict how much routine health care will cost through a DPC approach.
Health Care Ministries
Working like private insurance pools, health care ministries may provide members of a faith group to consolidate their resources to pay for medical procedures and the like when needed.
The common practice is that everyone in these ministries pays the equal amount of contributions for their health care needs. In return, everybody receives equal benefits.
Bonus: Medigap Subsidy
For those interested in Medicare Supplements yet find it hard to make ends meet in paying for premiums, certain states offer a Medigap Subsidy program. This approach mainly helps Medicare Supplemental Insurance policyholders pay for part of a premium.
Qualifying for a Medigap Subsidy depends on the state that offers the program. But generally, these are the factors considered:
- You must have a household income at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
- You must be qualified for Medicare
- You must have a qualifying Medigap coverage from a participating insurer
- You must be a resident of the state that is offering the Medigap Subsidy
As such, this program effectively adds another layer of flexibility for Medicare Supplements.
Miscellaneous Health Care Option Tips
We’d also like to remind you and other readers the importance of keeping fit before and during the retirement years. Staying healthy (physically, mentally, and emotionally) will help prevent the onset of aging diseases. And of course, less ailments to consider means fewer financial problems to be worried about.
Start off by committing to a workout routine. Enrolling in gym classes will help, not only for the equipment and professional support to guide you, but with the social interaction you gain from trainers and fellow boomers alike.
Likewise, sticking to a healthy diet will work wonders. Consider as well organic over processed food to build up on the energy and stamina you’d need during the twilight years.
Keeping tabs with friends and family and creating new relationships will prevent the pain of social isolation. The feeling of being left out because of your age is something that definitely needs more attention – social isolation can lead to anxiety and depression, which in turn may result to vices (definitely not a great activity to look forward to during retirement).
Also, do not be afraid to talk to your doctor. Aside from learning more about treatments and medication prescribed for your wellbeing, building a professional relationship with your physician may result to you coming up with more ways on how to live life to the fullest during the golden years.
Lastly, never stop learning. From finding out more ways on how Medigap can help you (please refer to our helpful compilation of Medigap information, The Best Medicare Supplement Plans: Where are They?) to planning for retirement activities, quenching your thirst for knowledge during the coming years will create memorable experiences for you to treasure for life.
We hope that the tips above will help you consider which health care option will best suit your needs. Best wishes for your future, and please leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions!