Managing out-of-pocket Medicare costs to ensure affordable health insurance

At times, beneficiaries of Medicare are expected to pay quite a significant portion of their health care costs, which makes it quite taxing to get affordable health insurance. Beneficiaries are required to pay premiums, deductibles as well as coinsurance. The following steps are some which can be of help to reduce the out of pocket costs associated with Medicare.

Premiums: those who have Part A hospital insurance are generally not charged a premium. For Medicare Part B on the other hand, the premium charged is $104.90 for the year 2015. This amount is usually taken out from the social security check if you already receive payments however those who haven’t signed up for their social security, they receive a bill. Those retirees having an adjusted gross income of more than $85,000 for individuals and $170,000 for couples are charged with a higher premium for their Part B coverage.

It is a good idea to sign up for the Part B coverage when the initial enrollment period is taking place which offers a 7 month window which starts 3 months prior to the 65th birthday. Your Part B premium will rise by 10% for every 12 month period during which you were eligible for the coverage but didn’t sign up for it.
Coinsurance and deductibles: the deductible for Part B is $147 for 2015. Once the deductibles are met by retirees, they are required to pay 20% of the negotiated cost for every service. No annual limit is placed on the out of pocket costs; Part A has a deductible of $1,260 for those beneficiaries who have been hospitalized and extra charges have to be paid if the hospital stay is more than 60 days.

Supplemental Insurance: Medigap policies are those supplemental insurance plans which pay for the coinsurance, copayments and the deductibles of the conventional Medicare as well as for any additional services which would be received for an extra premium. With the medigap policy, the irregular out of pocket costs can be reduced. The initial enrollment period for Medigap starts during the initial 6 months of when you are 65 years or older and have been enrolled in Part B of Medicare. Once this period is over, the right to get Medigap policy can be denied or a high premium could be charged.

Preventive care: a number of preventive care services are also covered for by Medicare with no additional requirements and these include annual wellness visits which are free, shots for the flu as well as screenings for various diseases. Conditions which have been discovered as part of these visits could require more treatments and tests to be conducted which do have an out of pocket cost.

While many services are covered by Medicare which is needed by the elderly, there are some very common services which Medicare does not cover. Eyeglasses, dental care or even hearing aids are not covered by Medicare. Extended nursing home care and stays are also not covered by Medicare or any other kind of long term care. If you’re looking for affordable health insurance, know that these are things which Medicare does not cover.


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