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With tens of millions of US adults over the age of 65 and more health insurance options than ever before, it's the perfect time for today's seniors to use an experienced health insurance agent when selecting a new policy.
Needless to say, there is no one-size-fits-all health policy out there. Everyone is different - different needs, different situations, different budgets. Seniors have particular needs, differing from those of others. Here are the 4 main options available to seniors today as far as health insurance is concerned.
Medicare is the most popular type of health insurance used by today's US seniors. It is a federal program divided into several components, or "parts."
Part A covers the costs of hospital stays and home health & hospice care. Part B covers seeing your PCP for a checkup, a diagnosis, an X-ray, or something else. Medicare Part D adds prescription drug coverage to the mix - a huge issue with many seniors.
Medicare Part C simply provides the option of getting your Medicare health insurance through a private company. A health insurance agent can discuss with you whether or not that would be advantageous to you in your particular situation.
2. Medicare Supplement Plans
The fact is, Medicare simply does not cover everything that many seniors need to be covered - or at least not to a sufficient degree. That's where Medicare supplement plans (Medigap plans) come in.
If you are already enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B, you will qualify for a Medigap policy. These cover coinsurance, deductibles, things uncovered by Medicare, and other out of pocket expenses those with Medicare may be exposed to.
Whether or not you need Medigap and, if so, how much and what kind varies a lot from senior to senior. So definitely talk to your health insurance agent about it!
Medicaid is often confused with Medicare, but the two are quite distinct. Anyone who paid into Social Security for 10 years or more can qualify for Medicare, but only seniors with low enough incomes will qualify for Medicaid.
Medicaid is for those seniors who can't afford a private health insurance policy and for whom Medicare is not sufficient. You typically use Medicare and Medicaid together to get the lowest possible out of pocket costs.
Medicaid is not just for kids - but there are programs for kids and for seniors connected with the overall Medicaid program.
4. Private Health Insurance
Even if you qualify for Medicare, you may do well to add a private health insurance plan. This doesn't have to be limited to Medigap, though it may include it.
If you typically have a large amount of medical costs per year or are at high risk of having them in the near future, then it makes a lot of sense to go beyond just Medicare - because your costs are likely to do so. Again, some private plans for seniors just trim around the edges, filling in a few gaps left by Medicare; but others are like full-fledged policies in their own right.
Additionally, you may be able to get discounts for being on a family plan, or if you still work through your employer, or for being a veteran, or just for being a senior. So definitely ask your health insurance agent or broker about all the ways you may be able to save.
To learn more about optimal health insurance for seniors, contact Summerlin Benefits Consulting today!