According to Medicare.gov, beneficiaries with relatively good health see out-of-pocket medical costs of about $566.90 a month or $6,800 per year.
Fort Collins, CO (PRWEB) November 05, 2012
Medicare beneficiaries have significant health care expenses even after Medicare pays its share. According to Medicare.gov, beneficiaries with relatively good health see out-of-pocket medical costs of about $566.90 a month or $6,800 per year. Besides Part B premiums, that estimate includes $38 for inpatient care, $303 for prescriptions, $35 for dental care, and $79 for miscellaneous health care not covered by Medicare. Out-of-pocket costs run much higher for the more than 50 percent of beneficiaries who need treatment for five or more chronic health problems, but Medigap Advisors has seven tips to help reduce the cost of health care.
Tip #1: Lock in the lowest Part B premiums. Most people have already contributed to Medicare through payroll deductions, so Part A hospital coverage comes at no charge. Everyone has monthly Part B premiums to see a doctor or use services from a non-hospital provider. No one is required to enroll in Part B when first eligible, but there may be a penalty in the form of higher than standard monthly premiums for late enrollment. Enroll when initially eligible, or talk to a Medicare representative to see whether current health insurance through employment will allow signing up late for Medicare without a penalty.
Tip #2: Supplement Medicare to avoid meeting too many deductibles. Part B benefits have an annual $140 deductible before coverage begins. To get Part A coverage, the $1,156 deductible must be met per benefit period. That period ends once a beneficiary has not received hospital or skilled nursing facility services for 60 consecutive days. A new benefit period begins the next time hospital care is needed. Medicare does not limit the number of times a beneficiary has to meet the Part A deductible, but Medigap Insurance can reimburse for those deductibles.
Tip #3: Medicare Supplement plans help with co-pay and co-insurance charges. Even after the deductibles have been met, Medicare still has co-pay and co-insurance charges. Medigap plans help with these out-of-pocket costs, and Medigap plans are not restricted to Medicare’s annual enrollment period. Medigap insurance is available throughout the year, but beneficiaries have a guarantee their Medigap application will be accepted when they are first eligible to sign up for Medicare.
Tip #4: Rethink Part D Prescription plans. Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative way to receive Medicare benefits. While Part D plans can be combined with original Medicare, they only cover prescriptions. An Advantage plan can provide the Part A and Part B benefits of traditional Medicare along with coverage for medications. Advantage plans typically add extra coverage for dental work, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and sometimes health club memberships.
Tip #5: Medicare Advantage plans may help when it’s hard to find doctors who accept new Medicare patients. HMO and PPO Advantage plans have their own provider networks, but they restrict coverage to their providers in non-emergency situations.
Tip #6: Medigap Insurance helps when doctors do not “accept assignment.” Doctors can charge more than Medicare’s set payment rate. Two Medigap plans will pay for the difference between what Medicare pays and what doctors actually charge.
Tip #7: Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans limit annual out-of-pocket health care costs. Medicare has no annual limit on how much a beneficiary may have to pay for health care, but Advantage plans do. Likewise, Medigap Plan K and Plan L also put a cap on annual out-of-pocket health care costs. Having that limit makes it easier to budget.
Beneficiaries need to investigate all options that can help them save on health care. In addition to the above tips, Medigap Advisors recommends that beneficiaries review medical bills for errors and negotiate rates for care not covered by Medicare. More providers are accepting reduced fees for people who pay in cash. Comparing rates for both health care services and plans that supplement Medicare can result in significant savings, and Medigap Advisors offers complimentary assistance to comparison shop policy premiums.
About Medigap Advisors:
As the nation's leading independent online expert on supplementing Medicare, Medigap Advisors offers personal service to help Medicare beneficiaries strip the mystery from Medicare.
Along with beneficiaries, children of parents approaching retirement and other caregivers may participate in live Question and Answer Sessions during How to Get the Most from Medicare teleseminars. Complementary registration is available at [http://www.MedigapAdvisors.com/teleseminar.htm.
Medigap Advisors is currently helping people enroll in Medicare Advantage plans, during the open enrollment period that ends December 7. Free consultations are available by calling 1-866-323-1441 between 9 AM and 11 PM Eastern. In addition, powerful online tools to cut the cost of healthcare are available at http://www.MedigapAdvisors.com/member-benefits.htm.