When we turn 65 and retire, we think about living a stable income and coming to the reality that there are some luxuries and “nice-to-haves” that we look forward to could and should forgo our later years. Maybe we’ll give up certain services that we paid while we were busy to allow ourselves more free time when we were not working. We are a little more aware of every new addition to our budgets and not only have to think about how to save money on such things as services, but we also need to protect ourselves from unexpected bills that could be impractical or even devastating for our savings budgets.
There is no doubt that top or bottom of the list is how we can ensure that we receive the medical treatment we want and / or need, and protect ourselves from the potentially large medical bills that may come with age. Let’s be honest; we are not getting any younger and as we get older, it’s just inevitable that at some point (and often unexpectedly) we’ll need serious medical care. With medical costs soaring, even a temporary stay in a hospital can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Most of us are lucky that we have Medicare Parts A & B as our primary cover. Of course, we’ve spent almost all of our working life in the Medicare system and most of us will still pay at least $ 110 a month for Part B (2010). However, this is not much to pay for 80% coverage of medical bills after some small to medium deductibles for hospitalization and outpatient benefits. The problem is the additional 20% that are not covered. What is the best way to ensure that you are not exposed to this 20% (which in catastrophic situations can be tens of thousands of dollars – from which we want to protect ourselves) that you owe for medical expenses?
The two main categories people look at are Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare supplement plans. Get an Aetna 2019 supplement plan at https://www.medicareadvantage2019.org/bcbs-medicare-advantage-plans-for-2019
However, Medicare Advantage plans are not really as supplements … especially because they do not complement Medicare parts A & B. Medicare Advantage plans actually replace your Medicare Parts A & B and are required to have coverage that is at least as good or better than normal Medicare. The benefit (if you will) of these plans is that they usually cost less than Medicare supplements. They often include the Part D drug coverage and sometimes extra benefits such as tooth and / or eyesight. Sounds great on the surface, right?
Here’s the rub with Medicare Advantage plans. They typically have small networks … especially in rural areas. So you have to go to certain doctors and hospitals (and they may not be the ones you want to visit). In addition, the private insurance company can now decide whether medical treatment is necessary (note that this is for profit companies selling these plans). In addition, many beneficiaries find that the plan has some hitherto unnamed gaps in coverage that offer them coverage that is comparable only if they only have Medicare coverage. Remember, the plans only need coverage that is as good as Medicare or better.