Medicare does not cover everything.
You know you need Medicare Part A and Part B.
You know you can start signing up three months prior to the month you turn age 65.
Surely this is sufficient for all of your health care needs when you turn age 65.
According to a recent Kiplinger article titled “7 Things Medicare Doesn't Cover,” this assumption could get you into trouble.
Medicare Part B helps cover outpatient care, visits to the doctor, some medical supplies, and some preventative services.
These may seem all inclusive.
They are not.
Some things are not covered or are not fully covered.
What are they?
If your doctor prescribes drugs, these are not covered.
You will need a supplemental plan.
What would you need?
You would need to select a separate Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan.
You can either enroll immediately or once you have lost drug coverage from another source.
Skilled nursing services covered in Medicare are limited.
Medicare pays only for short-term rehabilitation care intended to get you back to independent living, not assisted living.
Consequently, help with dressing, bathing, and other activities for daily living are not included.
Purchasing long-term care insurance or a life insurance policy with a long-term care rider could assist in covering these addition costs.
Your Deductibles and Co-Pays.
You are responsible for these expenses.
Medicare will only help pay for 60 days past the 90-day limit for hospital stays for your entire coverage lifetime.
Hospital costs are then your full responsibility.
Most Dental Care.
Some Medical Advantage plans provide x-ray coverage or basic cleaning, but there is a cap.
This typically is $1,500 per year.
For cleanings, visits, fillings, dentures, or tooth extractions, you may need to have a separate private dental policy.
A health savings account could also be helpful if you built up money prior to Medicare enrollment.
Routine Vision Care.
You will want to choose an appropriate Medicare Advantage plan or supplemental policy if vision care is something you will need.
Selecting a Medicare Advantage plan with coverage for hearing aids would be wise if you have hearing loss.
You may also want to research discount programs for low-cost hearing aids.
Medical Care Overseas.
If you travel abroad or go on a cruise more than six hours from a U.S. port, you will need additional coverage.
What are your options?
Medigap plan C through G, M, and N can cover about 80 percent of the emergency care abroad.
There is a lifetime limit of $50,000.
Two other options are travel insurance or a Medicare Advantage plan.
Advance planning and research will be necessary help you select the coverage you need for your various health care expenses.
A health insurance agent experienced in the specific needs of retirees should be consulted.
Reference: Kiplinger (May 23, 2019) “7 Things Medicare Doesn't Cover”