Have you ever been confused, worried, or down-right scared when it comes to your health care in retirement? You're not alone. It can be complex, confusing, and often leads to more questions than answers, especially when it comes to Medicare. This makes planning your retirement health care a potential nightmare. Let's ease the tension a bit by answering some common questions.
Providing health care is like building a house. The task requires experts, expensive equipment and materials, and a huge amount of coordination.
A lot of people think health care in retirement is free and the government will cover all cost. That is not true, and you could expect to pay upwards of $200,000 in health care costs throughout your retirement. You can find out more about what costs to expect here or use our cost analyzer to get an estimate of your retirement health care costs.
Medicare is the federal program that provides healthcare, regardless of your income, if you’re older than 65 or have a disability. Part A covers hospital stays, nursing facility, and home care. Part B covers outpatient care, preventive services, ambulance services, and durable medical equipment. The costs vary by income level and what you decide to enroll in.
Being 65 or older makes you eligible for Medicare. If you're under 65 and have been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, SSDI, for at least 24 months, you may qualify for Medicare.
You can reach Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY callers can call 1-877-486-2048. Please be sure you have your Medicare number available when calling.
After understanding Medicare and what you should enroll for (register here to learn more), you can decide what to enroll in. You may be automatically enrolled in certain parts. Check your enrollment and if you still need to apply or change coverage (certain rules apply), apply to Medicare.
There are a lot of options when it comes to Medicare. There are Parts A, B, D (prescription drugs), Medicare Advantage, and Medigap, and what you should enroll in depends upon your circumstances and needs. If you are looking for guidance on enrollment try the Medicare Navigator.
No, you need to wait until you are 65 unless you have a disability. However, if your spouse is at least 65, they may qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A even if they haven't worked. See here for more info.
Medicare only covers long-term disability for a short while. Also Medicare doesn't help pay for basic tasks like bathing or cooking. The fact is, the older you get, the more likely you will need long-term care. You should consider long-term care as part of your retirement plan.
Also called a "living will", the advance directive explains your wishes when you are unable to make medical decisions and are legally determined to be "terminally ill" or "permanently unconscious". You can review your state guidelines and forms at caringinfo.org.
One of the most impactful things you can do for your retirement is focus on being healthier. It will allow you to have a more fulfilling and active retirement. Consider these tips for a more healthy retirement.
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