Many seniors believe that Medicare will sufficiently cover their healthcare needs as they age. However, relying entirely on Medicare can lead to gaps in healthcare coverage, potentially impacting both your health and financial well-being. That’s why planning in advance is crucial.
Understanding Medicare’s Coverage
Medicare is a federal health insurance program that offers coverage to individuals over 65 years of age and some younger individuals with disabilities. It typically covers hospital stays, doctor visits, and prescription drugs. But importantly, there are crucial areas of healthcare that seniors frequently access that Medicare doesn’t cover, leaving beneficiaries to shoulder the expenses.
What Medicare Doesn’t Cover
Contrary to popular belief, Medicare offers limited coverage for long-term care or daily living assistance. In Pennsylvania, the average cost for a nursing home was well over $10,000 per month. Medicare only covers a small portion of your nursing home stay. This means that without proper planning, you will be forced to pay out-of-pocket, quickly draining your savings.
Oral health significantly affects your overall health, particularly as you age. Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover most dental care, including cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, dentures, or other dental devices. Unless you have private dental insurance, you might be stuck holding an expensive bill.
Eye Exams & Dentures:
Regular eye exams are vital in catching age-related vision problems early. However, routine eye exams, eyeglasses, and contact lenses are not covered under Medicare. Similarly, the cost of dentures, which can be a necessity with advancing age, falls on the individual.
Hearing loss is common in seniors, but hearing aids, which can significantly improve quality of life, aren’t covered by Medicare. Considering the often prohibitive cost of these devices, the lack of coverage can be financially burdensome.
All of this means that relying solely on Medicare for your future healthcare needs can be risky. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take now to prepare yourself, your loved ones, and your estate for the cost of long-term care.
The first is to talk to a Certified Elder Law Attorney and discuss comprehensive advance planning. They might recommend creating a Trust, like a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, in order to insulate your existing estate from the cost of long-term care.
As with most things, planning is easier, the earlier you do it. While Medicare provides valuable healthcare coverage, it should not be your only tool to pay for your care.
If you’re unsure about how to start your planning, reach out to the team at Marshall, Parker & Weber. Our experts can guide you through the process, ensuring you’re well-prepared for your future healthcare needs.