A few months ago, we wrote a blog discussing the various resources you can access on the Mass Gov site for elders and caregivers. Yet, as mentioned in a recent blog post, Palliative Care and Making Life More Wonderful, palliative care and end of life planning are an under discussed topic. So, today we wanted to share with you more government resources that you might find useful regarding health care proxies, hospice and palliative care.
Once you turn 65, you are eligible to take part in the Medicare system of healthcare. It can be a little confusing to apply, and sometimes a little hard to figure out what it will and won’t cover. Traditional Medicare, also known as “Original Medicare,” should cover most of your medical expenses through Medicare Part A and Part B. Part A is all about hospital insurance: inpatient stays, skilled nursing facilities for some costs, surgery, hospice care and some home health care. Part B helps to pay for things like some medical equipment and supplies, some preventive services, doctor visits and outpatient care. Three months before you reach age 65, you need to sign up for Medicare.
Kiplinger’s article, “7 Things Medicare Doesn’t Cover,” takes a closer look at what isn’t covered by Medicare, plus some information about supplemental insurance policies and strategies that can help cover the additional costs, so you don’t end up with unanticipated medical bills in retirement.
Switching to Medicare from a traditional employer’s health insurance plan can be a little unnerving at first. There are things that Medicare does cover, however, there are also things that it doesn’t. Let’s start with understanding Original Medicare or Traditional Medicare, known as Medicare Parts A and B. They cover a fair amount of medical expenses once people turn age 65. Part A is all about hospital insurance when you are an inpatient, part of your stay in a skilled nursing facility, surgery, hospice care and some (but not all) health care provided at home. Part B is your medical insurance that helps pay for doctors’ visits, outpatient care, some preventive services and some medical equipment and supplies. Most seniors can enroll in Medicare three months before the month they turn 65.
As mentioned, Medicare doesn’t cover everything, and Kiplinger’s article, “7 Things Medicare Doesn’t Cover,” takes a closer look at what isn’t covered, plus information about supplemental insurance policies and strategies that can help cover the additional costs, so you don’t wind up with unanticipated medical bills in retirement.
According to an article from U.S. News, “7 Red Flags to Watch for When Choosing a Nursing Home”, if you are going about it correctly, choosing a nursing home should take many days and many conversations. When going through the process, while there are several great things to be on the lookout for, there are also red flags to keep an eye out for:
When you are visiting a nursing home you will not only want to look around, but you will want to pay attention to what you hear. Is it chaotic? Or is there loud overhead paging? These kind of loud noises can contribute to agitation.
Looking into potential nursing homes or other senior care facilities? or thinking ahead about the process? One aspect you will want to consider is whether or not the facility is a for-profit or not-for-profit. In an article from U.S. News, “Nonprofit Versus For-Profit Senior Care – Is There a Difference?”, it is suggested that you might want to take this into consideration.
According to David G. Stevenson, an associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, studies have shown that the typical not-for-profit senior care facility is higher quality than a for-profit which typically more poorly perform. That is not to say that there are not wonderful for-profit facilities, but data does show that when considering senior care locations a good place to start is looking into not-for-profit, as they tend to have better outcomes.
The downside is that the majority of senior care options are structured around for-profit which can make it hard to find a not-for-profit in your area. While it is important to consider the ownership status of a senior care option, there are several other aspects to examine when doing your research.
According to an announcement from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, most seniors will pay $135.50 per month for Medicare Part B in 2019. In 2018, that was $134.
Kiplinger’s recent article, “What You’ll Pay for Medicare Premiums in 2019,” reports that a few Medicare beneficiaries (about 3.5%) will pay somewhat less because the cost-of-living increase in their Social Security benefits isn’t big enough to cover the full premium increase. The “hold-harmless provision” keeps enrollees’ annual increases in Medicare premiums from rising above their cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits, if their premiums are automatically deducted from their Social Security payments. Social Security benefits are increasing by 2.8% in 2019, which will cover the increase in premiums for most seniors.
Across the country, people have been receiving new and safer Medicare cards. Yet there are a few questions that people have had according to an article from The New York Times, “New Medicare Cards Are Being Issued. Here’s What You Need to Know”.
The replacement of these cards has not been immediate, but that is nothing to worry about. The sending out of these cards is structured in waves. There are 10 waves to stagger the mailings, and if a friend or relative in another state receives(ed) a card before do not worry.
Most people sign up for Medicare three months before the month they turn 65. That’s when you’ll want to have a clear understanding of what you can expect from Medicare:
Part A: Hospital insurance that helps pay for inpatient hospital stays, stays in skilled nursing facilities, surgery, hospice care and certain home health care services.
Part B: Medical Insurance that helps to pay for doctor’s visits, outpatient care, some preventive services, and some medical equipment and supplies.
Created in July 1965 as part of the Social Security Act, Medicare is how most adults over age 65 cover their healthcare costs. Medicare has four parts. They are Part A: Hospital, Part B: Outpatient Services, Part C: Medicare Replacement and Part D: Prescription Drugs. This useful article from Think Advisor, “Essential Medicare Facts & Penalties Advisors Should Know on One Page,” covers Medicare fundamentals.
As a general rule, if you are 65 and you or your spouse have paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years, you may enroll in the program. Those under 65 may also enroll if they are disabled or have end stage renal disease.
Yes, you still have to spend a lot of out-of-pocket money on healthcare, but a recent article in AARP ,“10 Free Services Medicare Provides,” reports that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded access to free preventive care, including a number of screenings and examinations. All of which are all helpful to maintaining good health. [Read more…]