Medicare’s an excellent option for most US citizens over the age of 65. It takes care of most of your basic medical needs, but there are still several things you’ll still have to pay out of pocket if you have Medicare health insurance.
In fact, recent studies show that 17% of Medicare members still suffer medically-related financial hardship, while only 12% of those with supplemental insurance endure the same fate.
So, do you need supplemental insurance with Medicare, or can you do without the extra costs?
Why do you need supplemental insurance?
When you sign up for Medicare Part A and B, you’re covered for the following:
- In-hospital care, some home health care, and nursing facility care
- Outpatient treatment, limited medical supplies, doctor’s services, and preventive care
You’ll have to pay for all your other medical expenses yourself. If you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, which covers a few extras or Medicare Part D to pay for prescription medications, you’ll incur fewer out of pocket costs.
So, the question is: ‘If you have Medicare do you need supplemental insurance?’ That depends on how many extras you’re bound to need as you age.
Things to consider about supplemental insurance
When it comes to finding a happy medium between financial freedom and comprehensive healthcare, the obvious starting point is considering the extra costs involved in extra coverage.
Private insurers offer a range of Medicare supplements, identified by different letters of the alphabet, according to federal guidelines.
Some insurers charge everyone the same rate regardless of their age, while others start with low rates that escalate annually as you get older. The third type of pricing starts at a rate determined by your age and then increases every year.
The average cost for Medicare supplement plans depends on the plan you opt-in for as well as the insurer you choose but a ballpark figure is around $148 per month.
Other things to think about
If you plan to travel during your retirement, you’ll need cover for any medical expenses incurred outside of your usual area. Medicare supplement plans F, D, G, M, or N cover a portion of the costs associated with this type of emergency medical treatment.
Another thing to consider is the medical network covered by your chosen supplement plan.
Before you sign up with any health insurance plan, you should consider whether it covers your preferred medical services providers. Most doctors and hospitals in the US accept all Medicare insurances.
Remember, if you want a guaranteed right of access to Medicare supplement plans, you must sign up within seven months of your 65th birthday. After that, you could face extra charges and waiting periods if you have any pre-existing conditions.
Finding a healthy balance
‘Do You Need Supplemental Insurance?’ is a highly personal question that’s specific to your unique medical needs. If you can afford it, it’s a great backup plan.
However, those who can’t pay the extra price are better off taking every precaution to ensure they stay fit and healthy for as long as possible.
If you’d like to find out more about health issues, including mental maladies, keep browsing our blog for advice and information.
Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.
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