As we age, in this writer’s opinion, the two most important things that run through our minds are “will we outlive our money” and “how will we handle health issues as they crop up as it relates to insurance coverage?”
This post will not address the first issue as that will be fodder for another post in the future. Instead, I would like to spend a little time on the second issue or health coverage, specifically how we handle health coverage via Medicare and/or other forms of insurance designed to address those needs.
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).
Medicare Advantage Plans may offer extra coverage, like vision, hearing, dental, and/or health and wellness programs. Most include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). In addition to your Part B premium, you usually pay a monthly premium for the Medicare Advantage Plan. This is what we had as our main source of insurance to cover our health needs since turning age 65.
Over these past eleven years we have been pretty satisfied with opting to go with a Medicare Advantage Plan as opposed to regular Medicare coverage along with a suitable supplemental policy. Primarily because, as was indicated earlier, the other concern of seniors over the age of 65 is financial and in our particular situation, we find it more economically feasible to go with an Advantage Plan as opposed to Medicare with a supplemental plan (supplemental plans usually come with a hefty monthly premium).
Once a year, usually between October 15 and December 31, individuals eligible for Medicare have the option of either remaining covered by Medicare along with a Supplemental Insurance Plan, going with a Medicare Advantage Plan, or if presently covered by a Medicare Advantage Plan, switch to a Plan more suitable to one’s medical situation at that time, with the new plan’s coverage becoming effective on January 01 of the next year.
While I would like to consider this period of time as being, shall we say adventurous or perhaps challenging, especially at our age, fact of the matter is that one has to be rather daring when deciding about their health coverage. Once decided, you are stuck with that program for one whole year (for the purposes of this article we are talking about the year 2017).
Picking one’s health insurance coverage is quite personal. But there is sufficient information available if one but knows where to access it and review it. However, receiving a letter the beginning of October with the caption: IMPORTANT NOTICE: Your Medicare plan won’t be offered in 2017, can be rather intimidating.
Having been through this process for the past eleven years, we sort of know what it is we have to do and as a result we tend to start early with our research.. Doing so enables us to learn about all the Plans that are available. Even though we did a bit of research last year, our decision was to stay with the Medicare Advantage Plan we had in 2015 when heading into 2016.
But, it would appear that we are going to have to be a bit more daring this year as our current plan will be no more come December 31, 2016. One thing a senior does not want to be is without some form of health coverage as we live out the fourth quarter of our life. Our work is cut out for us. What about you? Have you thought about what you are going to do regarding your Medicare coverage for 2017?
Do you need to be daring too?
Until next time!