Since 1965, Medicare, provided for under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, has provided health insurance to people over the age of 65, regardless of income or medical history. Though the basics, like in-patient hospital coverage, skilled nursing, doctor visits, and some drug coverage, are provided, most seniors still have to pay out of pocket for many services. In fact, the average man needs $124,000 to cover health care during retirement and the average woman needs $152,000. To put those numbers in perspective, the typical senior household has only $66,900 saved. Fortunately, Medicare Part C covers Medicare Advantage plans which are provided by private companies to cover additional expenses.
What is a Medicare Advantage Program?
Medicare Advantage is essentially a Medicare supplement that works very much like traditional private insurance. Programs are run by private insurers and provide additional benefits.
What Do Medicare Supplements Cover?
You’ll be able to choose between the doctors, hospitals, and other providers who accept your plan, and your benefits will be more extensive than those provided for by standard Medicare. Drug costs are usually covered at least partially, and copays may be reduced.
What Will a Medicare Supplement Cost?
That depends on your health, medical needs, and wallet. Because the benefits are supplemental, they will make it easier for you to access the care you need, but they might also be more expensive.
Who Should Consider Medicare Supplements?
If you have a number of medical needs or very strong preferences, Medicare Advantage might be for you. For example, if you take a lot of medication or prefer private hospital rooms, you would need a supplementary plan in order to get coverage.
Many seniors choose Medicare Advantage because of their declining health. Studies have shown that Medicare enrollees have a 31% incidence of cognitive impairment and that 30% visit the emergency room annually. These numbers indicate that many seniors may require additional care in order to cover their medical needs. If you’re approaching 65 and think you might need a Medicare supplement, start doing your research today. It’s never too soon to take care of your health. Read more.