Protection during the Golden Years: Health Insurance and Retirement

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Health insurance for retirees or senior citizens can be confusing, especially with so many options and requirements. However, health insurance is crucial for retirees. As you grow older, your health obviously becomes more of an issue; you may visit the doctor more, need to fill more prescriptions, or even receive in-home care. Before you retire, prepare for health insurance to ensure that you receive the best benefits.

The first step in planning your health insurance coverage in your retirement is to see if your employer offers insurance coverage after you retire. If the company does, you should certainly consider it. Look at the plan, the deductible, and the coverage. Many near-retirees believe that Medicare will cover their medical payments, but this is not always the case. With this sort of coverage, you will most likely receive better health care but at a more expensive cost. As a retiree, you will certainly have a health insurance budget to maintain, and you will have to decide if the cost of your employer's insurance is too expensive.

If your employer does not offer coverage, Medicare will be an important and integral part of your health insurance if you are 65 years of age or older. Medicare works like traditional health insurance plans in that you have been contributing a small portion of every paycheck you earn into this plan. Once Medicare begins, you will make co-payments for office visits or treatment. Medicare will also cover the expense of certain medical equipment or needs.

However, Medicare did not cover a number of items that are typical of health insurance. The government recently updated Medicare and divided it into three parts: Part A, B, and C. Part A covers hospital care, such as home health care, hospital stays, and hospice care. This part does not require a premium. Part B covers the more routine medical expenses, such as office visits and laboratory tests, while Part C enrolls you into a fee-for-service or managed care plan that reduces your out-of-pocket costs. Despite these different options, Medicare restricts your coverage by not covering certain kinds of care or illnesses and diseases. Thus, there is also Medigap coverage, which helps fill in the gaps in health insurance that Medicare leaves. Medigap coverage differs from state to state and has different payments.

Beyond Medicare and Medigap, there are also long-term care insurance plans that you can buy. You often see these plans advertised on the television at very low prices. These plans can help cover the costs of a nursing home or home health care. With so many different options and limitations, if you are retiring soon, you should take a look at your budget and what you can afford as well as what sort of coverage you feel you will need.

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