When you reach a certain age, you may be eligible for Medicare. This allows you to have low-cost health insurance and have things like your medications, routine doctor visits, and emergency hospital visits covered at least partly. Here are some things to know about Medicare as a senior.
There Are Four Parts of Medicare
The first thing you need to understand about Medicare is that there are four different parts. Being more aware of each part and what it covers helps you know what to enroll in and what might be covered. Part A and B are considered "original Medicare" plans. Part A is for short-term and long-term care services like skilled nursing, inpatient hospital visits, and hospice. Part B is for your routine doctor visits and hospital visits. Part C is an optional coverage for things like vision and dental. Part D is the prescription insurance plan.
You May Be Automatically Enrolled in Medicare
What you may not realize is if you reach the age of retirement where you can begin collecting benefits from Social Security, your enrollment in Medicare Parts A and B begins automatically. You don't need to worry about getting it during an open enrollment period, as you will simply get a notice that you are now enrolled in the coverage. However, they will give you an option for changing the type of coverage and plans you belong to. When you get the notice or card in the mail, you will also be given the option to decline the offer for medical coverage, though keep in mind it is more difficult to enroll again in the future if you change your mind.
Part D Is an Optional Plan
The Part D prescription coverage part of Medicare is optional. When you are automatically enrolled in Parts A and B, you are given a notice that informs you of how to choose a Part D plan. This part of the plan is only for discounted prescription medications, so you may not be in need of them at the time of enrollment. It does require an additional premium, so you can decide during enrollment if it is necessary, or if you don't use enough expensive medications to warranty paying the higher premium.
Medicare Covers Some Long-Term Care Costs
Some long-term healthcare costs are covered, but many of them are limited. This is something to be aware of when choosing your medical coverage and planning ahead for these potential costs. For example, Medicare typically pays all of your skilled nursing care up to a certain point, then after that, the amount of coverage is reduced and you are responsible for the rest. It does not cover assisted living facilities, but you get partial coverage for in-home care and hospice care.
Insurance is something that I carry in the hopes that it never has to be used. Along with life coverage, I also have low cost auto insurance and a health plan through my employer. I'm toying with the idea of adding some additional coverage, just in case something happens and I'm no longer around to take care of my family. The question that is on my mind is how much insurance is enough? Do I really need more, or would it be better to cultivate other assets that my loved ones can draw on if needed? If you are in the same boat, let's journey together for a while. Read on and I'll explain what I'm trying and why. Together, we can figure out when it is time to add more coverage and when enough really is enough.