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What is Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A is the standard, baseline hospital coverage that comes at no cost as part of everyone’s Medicare benefits. It will pay for inpatient stays at hospital and skilled care facilities, but only for a certain number of days. Medicare Part A is hospitalization and inpatient care insurance. It will pay fully for about 20 days of care, but only if there is an inpatient procedure first and the patient appears to be convalescing. If the patient is not gradually recovering, their Medicare benefits will be suspended. Continue reading...

At What Age Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

Generally speaking, the earlier you purchase long-term care insurance the less expensive it will be in terms of monthly premium. Investors in good health should start thinking about long-term care insurance as part of their overall financial plan around their late 40’s/early 50’s. Medical history also plays a role. If your parents needed daily medical care later in life, then you should consider purchasing a long-term care policy sooner than later. Continue reading...

What is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B covers some doctors visits, outpatient care, and many other services not covered by Part A. There is a standard premium which is around $100/month for those receiving social security benefits at the same time. Medicare Part B covers outpatient procedures – visits to the doctor, regular checkups, physical therapy, etc. In other words, it covers medical expenses that don’t involve a hospital stay. Medicare Part A is free (if you’ve contributed to Social Security for at least 10 years), but Part B comes with a price tag. Continue reading...

Who Pays for Medicare?

Taxes pay for the entirety of Medicare part A. For the optional or supplemental policies which fall under the Medicare moniker, a regular premium may be due, but it’s still better than what premiums would look like if there were no Medicare. The Social Security Administration (website—here), which is funded by taxes deducted from your paycheck under FICA, or as part of the “self-employment tax,” administers both Social Security and Medicare. Continue reading...

What Does Medicaid Cover?

Medicaid will cover many things, but it is reserved for those without enough assets to get such care on their own or to pay for other coverage. Some examples of covered services include checkups and childbirth for low income pregnant women, and nursing home care for low-income elderly people with long term care needs. Medicaid covers a very wide range of medical costs, including hospital expenses, visits to the doctor, nursing home expenses, and so on. Continue reading...

How Can I Keep My Health Costs Down in Retirement?

You can keep your health costs down in retirement by frequently using preventative care, and working hard to stay healthy. You can also tame the costs by saving diligently in your retirement years, so that you have funds set aside for medical expenses. There is also the ability to purchase long-term care insurance, which can kick-in later in life when you have daily care needs. The insurance is often designed to pay out a certain dollar amount each day to pay for your care. Continue reading...

What are Medicare Benefits?

Medicare is a medical insurance benefit for Americans 65 years of age or older, but it also provides coverage for those with severe disabilities, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and ESRD (end-stage kidney disease) at any age. The premiums for what is known as Part A are paid throughout the insured’s working career, with Part B available as a supplement at low cost. Once you’re over 65, this becomes your medical insurance unless you’re still on an employer’s plan. Medicare provides coverage for in-patient procedures and short stays in the hospital, as well as hospice care and a few other small benefits for home health care. That is just for Part A—the “free” portion of Medicare people pay into over their working lives as part of their FICA taxes. Continue reading...

How Much Will Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?

The cost of long-term care insurance varies depending on the policy and the age of the insured. Generally speaking, however, the insured can expect to pay between a hundred to several hundred dollars a month. Typically the total cost adds up to at least a few thousand dollars per year. Furthermore, you will be required to continue paying the premium through your retirement (until you begin using the insurance), and if you fail to pay the annual fee, you might lose some or all of your coverage (regardless of how much you have paid up to that point). Continue reading...

What Provisions Should a Long-Term Care Policy Contain?

Long-term care insurance policies can be structured in any number of ways, depending on your desired coverage. More coverage equals more premium cost, but may save you money later in life if you use your policy for a number of years. There are a variety of provisions (also known as riders) to consider, including but not limited to the dollar amount of your daily benefit (usually $200 - $500), whether it is a reimbursement or paid in full, which facilities qualify for coverage, what kind of assistance you’ll provided, whether or not it includes a nurse on duty 24 hours a day, access to a doctor, whether you’ll have a room to yourself or not, and so on. Continue reading...

What will Long-Term Care Insurance Cover?

Long-term care insurance is designed to pay benefits for the elderly in need of daily medical services, such as an at-home nurse, room and board in an assisted living facility, adult daycare, respite care, hospice care, and/or medical supplies needed for daily living. Depending on the insurance company offering the services and the policy selected, the menu of benefits will vary. The more benefits offered the higher the premium for the policy. Continue reading...

What is Medicare Part C?

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is offered in a few variations by several third-party carriers. These plans are approved by Medicare and a person must still pay their Part B premiums to get them, but the Medicare Advantage plans are designed to be more appealing with their deductibles and copays than original Medicare Part A and Part B. Medicare Part C, is a private plan that is mandated to be at least equal in coverage to Part A and Part B. Continue reading...

How Much Will Medigap Cost?

There are many Medigap policies offered by many different insurers, so this is hard to answer. Plan F is the most robust coverage, currently, and it will be the most expensive, with premiums that can go up to $10,000 a year. There isn’t a concrete answer. Your costs will depend on how old you are, your health, and which of the 12 plans you choose. Medigap policies come in flavors such as Part F, Part K, and Part L. Continue reading...

Should I Buy a Medigap Policy?

There are pros and cons to buying so-called Medigap coverage, and it can depend on how much medical care and services you anticipate needing. They cover all or nearly all of the out-of-pocket costs left over by Part A and Part B, but they don’t offer Part D coverage. Obviously, buying a Medigap policy will mean additional costs. If you have the means and you’re looking to extend your medical insurance to areas not covered by Medicare Part A and B (original Medicare), it might be a good option. Continue reading...

Should I Buy a Long-Term Care Policy?

Whether you should own a long-term care insurance policy depends on a myriad of factors, including but not limited to affordability, family medical history, your liquid net worth and your cash flow needs in retirement. It also depends on your ability to make consistent premium payments to ensure your policy stays in force over time. Since a Long-Term Care plan requires you to keep paying the (steep) premium until you actually start to use the coverage – or you’ll lose it, it may not be a great idea to buy the policy if you have financial insecurities in the near (or even distant) future. Continue reading...

What is Medicare Part D?

Part D is prescription drug coverage to supplement the coverage of Medicare Part A and Part B. It can be a standalone policy, or it can be included in a package with Part C. Medicare Part D is purchased through private insurers. While the premiums vary, they tend to range from $15- $150 a month. There was a maximum deductible of $360 for these plans in 2016, after which the insurer would trigger 75/25 coinsurance or something in that range. Continue reading...

What if My Long-Term Care Insurance Doesn’t Pay for My Expenses?

Most long-term care insurance policies are designed to mitigate the cost of long-term assisted living care, not to cover the entire daily cost. Retirees should plan to absorb some of the cost themselves, assuming that daily supervised care is needed. That being said, if you own a long-term care insurance policy and the insurance company is refusing to pay benefits for the care you need, then you may have a fight ahead of you. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 502 on Medical and Dental Expenses?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Publication 502 outlines which types of medical and dental expenses are deductible, who can be included in your considerations, what the limits are on deductions, and more. This publication is primarily meant for individuals but businesses might find it useful as well. Publication 502 is a source of information for all tax information regarding deductions stemming from medical and dental expenses and insurance. Continue reading...

Does My Spouse Need Separate Health Insurance When I Retire?

You and your spouse could be on the same health plan, especially if it is offered through your employer, COBRA, or Medicare and Medicaid. If you are purchasing long-term care insurance, you would generally get a separate policy for each person. Do I need Life Insurance for My Spouse? Will My Spouse and Children Receive Social Security Benefits if I Die? Continue reading...

Am I Eligible for Social Security Benefits?

Social Security will pay benefits to those who have paid into the system, their beneficiaries in many cases, and also to some disabled individuals who have not paid into the system. In general, Social Security Benefits will only be paid in cases where individuals paid into the system. The exception is Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is actually paid from the general tax revenue of the government, and not the actual Social Security trust funds, though it is administered by the Social Security Administration. Continue reading...

What is Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicare and Medicaid are two very substantial government-run healthcare programs which you have no doubt heard of before. Medicare website — Found Here | Medicaid website — Found Here Medicare is the federal program available to people over age 65, while Medicaid is a federally subsidized state program that provides care to lower-income families. Medicare is a government insurance program created to help retirees and the disabled. Continue reading...