How to Lift the Heavy Cost of Healthcare
The cost of healthcare, as pointed out in our previous article, A Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan Will Secure the Golden Years, is probably one of the most expensive costs a baby boomer will encounter in his or her life.
In fact, the mentioned Commonwealth Fund report in that article highlighted the frightening reality that most boomers are currently facing. A quarter of Medicare beneficiaries (or 15 million individuals) spent approximately 20% of their household income on insurance premiums and out-of-pocket healthcare costs last year.
Consider as well, primarily because of the increasing rate of healthcare costs (according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, national health spending will grow to a projected 5.6% per year during the duration of 2016 to 2025); it is now challenging to manage one’s finances during the twilight years.
As such, we’d like to share some simple yet useful tips on how to face these expensive costs. We hope that through these pointers, more people will be able to secure their futures.
Choosing a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan
As part of our constant push on Medicare Supplements, enrolling in a Medigap Plan will definitely safeguard your future from financial and health harm. By addressing the out-of-pocket healthcare costs (also known as gaps) stated above, a boomer can then now focus on more opportunities to pursue during the retirement years.
The question is, where does one get a plan that will best suit the needs? An excellent reference one can look up to is from FreeMedSuppQuote’s post, The Best Medicare Supplement Plans: Where are They?. According to the article, taking the time to learn about the different policies offered will help an applicant select a plan that will provide the necessary coverage for the retirement years.
Learning, however, may prove to be a challenge considering that there are ten standardized Medigap policies to choose from. From Plan A to Plan N (plans E, H, I, and J are already discontinued), each Medicare Supplemental Plan provides an array of benefits that will suit all sorts of needs.
As such, seeking advice from insurance agents and consulting with financial experts will help one choose a policy. Additionally, enrolling during the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period (OEP – begins during the month you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B as well) will help you maximize both your funds and chances to be covered.
This is because that purchasing a plan during the OEP will offer you these benefits:
- No medical underwriting process, meaning individuals with health problems can still be sold a plan
- You cannot be charged a higher premium (compared to those who purchases a plan at the age of 66 and above)
- A private insurance company cannot deny you to sell any Medicare Supplemental Plan it offers
- The start date of your Medigap coverage cannot be delayed
Please request for a Medicare Supplement Quote today and get in touch with an insurance agent to know more about your available Medigap solutions.
Consider a Health Savings Account
In line with getting a Medigap plan, consider as well to set up a health savings account (HSA).
An HSA, as defined by Mayo Clinic, is an account solely dedicated to paying for healthcare expenses. Working in conjunction with an insurance policy such as Medigap, an HSA will not only assure you that premiums and the like are covered – it can also be advantageous in managing your taxes since the funds in HAS are accumulated in a tax-free manner.
For more details, please speak with a financial consultation on how an HSA can work in tandem with a Medicare Supplemental Plan.
Talk to Your Doctor
Another way to manage the expensive cost of healthcare is discussing alternative solutions with your doctor. A good topic to talk about is prescription – are there other options aside from the medication prescribed? Can you seek affordable drugs from other pharmacies?
Another topic is emergency room visits. Do all your treatments need to be in emergency rooms? Are there other affordable health centers in your area to consider in cases needed for health emergency situations?
The point is, having a transparent discussion with your physician is needed for you to find out more ways to tackle the cost of healthcare. Don’t be shy – your future depends on how you interact and engage with your doctor.
Improve on Health Literacy
Connected with the point above, please make sure to take the time improve your health literacy skills. The ability to understand and interpret health information can help you save money.
Lastly, one of the best ways to approach the high cost of healthcare is shifting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Chronic diseases are on the rise among boomers today, mainly because of unhealthy lifestyle choices. Opting to have a health-first mindset (whether this is through keeping physically fit or committing to a healthier diet) will work wonders during the golden years.
We hope that the pointers above will help you and other readers face the frightening cost of healthcare during the retirement years. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions about the tips or if you other suggestions to add.
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