One of the biggest expenses retirees will face will be paying for health care. How can you manage your medical costs to ensure your wealth lasts through retirement? A story by USA Today recently shared five ways to save.
1. Get a Medicare Supplemental Plan
One of the biggest misnomers is the idea Medicare will cover all your medical costs; not true. Even for those who qualify, Medicare can come with very high deductibles and co-pays. To protect yourself against out-of-pocket expenses, enroll in a Medicare supplemental insurance plan called Medigap. It can help pay for any co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles that Medicare doesn’t cover. Keep in mind, there is a monthly premium for Medigap and to get a policy, you must already have Medicare Part A and Part B. Also Medigap policies only cover one person, so if you want coverage for you and your spouse, you will have to buy two separate policies.
2. Enroll in Medicare Part D
While Medigap can help pay for some expenses, it won’t cover everything. For example, it does not pay for prescription drugs. To get coverage that helps pay for drug costs, enroll in the Medicare prescription drug plan called Medicare Part D. Be aware, Most Part D plans also have a coverage gap or “donut hole,” which limits your coverage after you’ve spent a certain amount on drugs. The good news is prescription drug companies are required to participate in Medicare’s Coverage Gap Discount Program, which offers discounts on drugs to people who fall in the coverage gap. With all the insurance plans available, it’s important you choose a plan based on your prescription history. Medicare offers a free online Plan Finder Tool that can help you decide what is best for you.
3. Save Money on Prescriptions
When possible, retirees should switch from brand-name drugs to generics. They’re just as effective and can result in big savings. Also it’s important you choose the right pharmacy to fill your prescriptions. According to a Consumer Reports study, Costco’s pharmacy offered the lowest prices while CVS had the highest. Another way to save on prescriptions is by ordering in bulk. Ask your pharmacist if they offer a discount on bulk orders.
4. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Poor health can result from a lack of physical activity, poor diet or bad habits. By staying active, retirees can increase their energy, require fewer visits to the doctor, improve heart health and potentially live longer. According to the American Heart Association, physically active people save $500 a year in health care costs. With fewer visits to the doctor and limited medical bills, overall health expenses should decrease.
5. Plan Early for End-of-Life Care
Medical costs during the last year of life can drain your savings. To make a plan for End of Life care, the first step is to create an Advanced Directive or Living Will that specifies the medical actions you want taken if you’re no longer able to make decisions for yourself. Next, consider buying Long-Term Healthcare Insurance, which covers home care, assisted living, hospice care and nursing homes. It can be a good investment if you can afford it, as it helps cover out-of-pocket expenses, which most people will eventually need. According to Fidelity Investments, the average retired couple will need more than $220,000 to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses during retirement. There is also a tax benefit to having Long-Term Healthcare Insurance. The IRS considers their premiums a medical expense. Finding answers on your medical assistance and long-term care questions can be difficult. This list of resources may be helpful to you as you navigate the medical system and weigh your options.
Read full the story here.
Reprinted with permission from Passare.com.