Do you have the right set of tools to survive the wasteland called retirement? Kidding aside, proper planning is needed when facing the twilight years. And one such way to equip yourself with the policy you deserve is by enrolling in a Medicare supplement insurance (also known as Medigap) plan. Let’s discover how this type of policy may prove to be essential in preparing for your tomorrow.
Mind the Gaps
What is Medigap? Basically, Medicare supplemental insurance plans exist to help Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) policyholders pay for the “gaps” found in their coverage. These gaps, such as deductibles, coinsurance fees, and copayments, are out-of-pocket expenses that often can drain a retiree’s hard-earned savings in a quick manner.
Also, private insurers sell Medigap policies, with ten standardized plans for applicants to choose from. Seeing that a given state may have multiple companies selling a plan, potential policyholders have the advantage of shopping for the best and most suitable insurance that will fit their needs and circumstances.
Now, when it comes to surviving the retirement phase of life, how much of an effect do these gaps have? It is significant, to say the least, especially with the current saving and spending habits that most people have when preparing for retirement. According to a study conducted by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), 45% of baby boomers entering retirement virtually have no savings set aside at all. Also, the majority of retirees rely on Social Security to pay for the gaps. As a result, seniors’ futures are more like to take a shot in the dark.
Additionally, couples retiring this year are expected to pay $260,000 in health care costs, as stated by a report done by Fidelity (Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate). Female retirees, unfortunately, are expected to encounter financial woes as well, considering gender wage gaps and longevity factors. As revealed by HealthView Services, women have a projected cost of $235,526 on retirement health care costs. In comparison, men have $119,346.
The Savings Breakdown
Taking it into perspective, the costs that these gaps make can potentially add up to a $1 million. Circumstances apply, of course, but certain Medicare supplemental standardized plans offer a wider coverage. For example, Plan F, considered as the most comprehensive policy, may allow policyholders to save:
· Up to $919,300 for hospital stays (for more than 90 days)
· Up to $50,000 for foreign travel coverage
· Up to $12,560 for skilled nursing services costs
As such, paying for Medigap policy premiums are justified by the significant savings it provides.
Take Control of Your Health
Possible financial stability isn’t the only survivor tool Medicare supplement insurance plans offer. One important aspect is the ability for policyholders to have coverage from a preferred doctor or medical institution’s services. Medigap policies aren’t limited to an in-network list of physicians. This benefit assures enrolled seniors to take control of their health, by getting care and attention from trusted and reliable medical experts.
As mentioned in the potential savings above, foreign travel coverage is another important survival tool that Medigap plans offer. This gives retirees the peace of mind that their health needs are secured even abroad. This tool’s efficiency extends even further for seniors who constantly travel, or for those who need to move to warmer places during the winter season.
Prepare as Early as Possible
Considering Medicare supplemental insurance as an all-in-one survival kit is a good way to emphasize its importance during the twilight years. However, one still needs to plan to enroll in it. Here are a few reminders to keep in mind:
Enroll When You Are First Eligible
It is highly advised to purchase Medigap when you first can. For you to be eligible for a purchase, you must be 65 and an Original Medicare owner as well. Buying a plan outside of the enrollment period of 6 months when you first got Original Medicare may result in higher premium rates and a stricter enrollment process. This is because private insurers need to make sure that late applicants will not be considered as risks for coverage.
Always Talk to Your Agent
Surviving the retirement years mean working hand-in-hand with a team. Aside from the support that family and caregivers will provide, an insurance agent is also a valuable team member to get information from. Aside from consulting and guiding you in understanding how policies work, an agent may also motivate you during the darkest times. Interaction with other people is important during the twilight years. You would know if you’re working with an excellent agent if he or she just doesn’t sell you a policy. More than the sale, you’ve gained a friend that understands your needs and goes the extra mile to make sure you have a policy that’ll best fit you.
Consider Medicare Part D
A comprehensive as a survival tool Medigap plans are, these policies do not cover prescription drugs. If you expect your doctor to prescribe you with certain medications, you may want to consider enrolling in a Medicare Part D as well.
Help Others Survive
We hope you consider enrolling for Medicare supplement insurance. Also, please share this article. We want more people to get their hands to a crucial survival toolkit. �