For people on Medicare, one can easily spend an additional $5,000 a year on ongoing health and insurance costs on items not covered. Below are costs you may encounter and how to handle the payment.
Routine check-ups, dentures and root canals are not covered under the original Medicare or Medigap policies.
Solution: If you opted for original Medicare coverage, consider buying an individual dental insurance plan. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, see if they provide dental coverage.
Medicare and Medigap plans cover ophthalmology expenses such as cataract surgery, however it does NOT cover eye exams, glasses or contact lenses.
Solution: Consider purchasing a vision insurance policy for a few hundred dollars a year to reduce the cost of contact lenses or glasses.
Medicare and Medigap plans to NOT pay for routine hearing tests or hearing aids. Medicare does cover ear-related medical conditions.
Solution: If you have original Medicare, consider buying insurance or a membership in a discount plan that helps cover cost of hearing aids. If you have Medicare Advantage, check to see if your policy covers hearing-related needs. There are programs for lower income needs to get hearing support. Congress recently passed legislation allowing some hearing aids to be sold without a prescription.
Virtually no medical coverage exists for traveling overseas with the original Medicare and most Advantage plans.
Solution: If you travel frequently, find a Medigap policy that covers medical costs outside of U.S. Some travel insurance policies provide basic health coverage, so check the fine print. You may also want to consider a medevac insurance for far-flung adventures. It’s a low-cost policy that transports you to a nearby medical facility or back home in an emergency.
Cosmetic Surgery and Podiatry
Facelifts or tummy tucks are not covered, nor is medical care generally covered for your feet, such as callus removals.
Solution: As you anticipate these costs, set up a side savings account to pay for the services.
Nursing Home Care
If you become frail or sick and unable to transfer, bath or feed yourself, you will need help with assisted living or move to a nursing home. Medicare will not cover those custodial costs, which can get super expensive since the average nursing home stay is $90,000 a year. Medicare does pay for limited stays in a rehab facility, say after a hip replacement or you need impatient physical therapy for a week after surgery.
Solution: Nursing home care is increasingly becoming a big issue and planning for it is sometimes difficult. Consider looking into a long-term care policy to supplement those assisted living costs. Those with limited incomes and savings may have Medicaid to help fill some of those gaps.
Medicare provides healthcare to millions of Americans over age 65 and it makes a huge difference to your financial stability and financial plan. Understanding how to plan for your other health costs NOT covered by Medicare and it’s impact on your cash is financial survival.
Source: AARP Bulletin