Health Insurance Benefits
The transition from working stiff to relaxed retiree can be a little overwhelming, especially if it arrives earlier than anticipated. Most people find out quickly that gaining health insurance benefits during retirement encompasses more than just saddling up to the Medicare buffet and getting all the coverage you need. This unfortunately means you will have some decisions to make when your last day of work comes and your employer’s group program no longer provides you with anything for your golden years. In order to maintain protection at a level you are accustomed to, you will have to do some research.
Here’s what you must look out for in order to keep from being blindsided:
Medicare has four different plans
Though we often refer to it as one umbrella program, the government-funded healthcare option is actually composed of several smaller parts: A, B, C, and D. Generally speaking, these are divided into “Original” (a combination of Parts A and B), “Advantage” (Part C), and “Supplemental” (Part D, a prescription drug option, for the most part). To make sure you all your needs are met, sit down with the details from each one and compare it to the coverage you currently have – or what your most recent plan offered – to see what will allow you to take care of your most common expenses with little, if any, changes. If you require periodic visits to the eye doctor and have regular medications, for example, you might find Parts C and D work best.
Budgeting for medical care is necessary
You probably will rejoice at the thought of avoiding forking over your hard-earned cash to see your doctor, but that personal fees might still be required to receive the care you need. Almost everyone assumes Medicare will pay for any expenses retirees incur at some point, that’s natural. Changes to the system over the years have made certain tests and procedures the responsibility of the patient, so you could end up with a bill for X-rays or other procedures that fell under your employee benefit plan before. In that case, you might want to set aside a monthly amount for a supplemental insurance plan or make deposits into a health savings account (HSA). Everyone is different when it comes to this – chronic conditions play a big part – and contacting a local representative of the Administration on Aging may help a lot.
Regulations are different from state to state
Medicare Parts A and B fall under the national service plan set up by the federal government, so they will be exactly the same no matter where you live. Parts C and D, on the other hand, are often organized by private companies under some general guidelines from Washington. From there, insurance commissions in each state set up detailed practices for what must be covered, when denials are inadmissible, and so on. Sadly, this means you might find better options in the next county and be unable to do anything about it except move! As you near the time to make a decision, be diligent – ask all the questions you need to and read the fine print. It is a time investment that will pay off by ensuring your health is protected.