If you are like many Americans and counting on Medicare to cover your medical expenses after you retire, then you need to take a more in-depth look at this program. This simplified overview will give you some of the benefits and some things that are not covered. Then, you can draw your conclusions about other types of coverage that you might want to consider.
Medicare covers a good number of things. The services it covers will prove useful as you grow older. It covers inpatient hospital care, stays in a skilled nursing facility, hospice services, lab tests, surgery, and some home health care. It also includes doctors' and other providers' fees within a set limit. Some durable medical supplies are covered along with some preventive services and screenings.
What It Doesn’t Cover
There are unfortunately many things that Medicare does not cover. You can only receive services in your home if your doctor deems them medically necessary. Even that is limited. Generally, Medicare does not cover 24 hour care in home. Most dental procedures, including dentures, are not paid for by Medicare. Additionally, prescription glasses and hearing aids are not covered in most circumstances. Many types of alternative health care, like acupuncture, are not included. Medicare will also not pay to have meals delivered to your home. Routine foot care is also not paid for by Medicare.
Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage Plans
You also need to be aware that there is a vast difference between Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans. Under Medicare, you can go to almost any doctor that you choose. Under Medicare Advantage, you will be assigned a network of doctors. You may be limited to using doctors in the network or have to pay extra when you use an out-of-network doctor. You may have additional coverage under Medicare Advantage for vision and dental needs. If you want to see a therapist in your home, such as a physical, speech, or occupational therapist, then you are allowed many more visits under Medicare than Medicare Advantage plans.
This simple overview allows you to understand the basics of what Medicare will and will not pay for when you become eligible. It is your choice to obtain additional coverage if you find it wise. You may also want to decide if Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan is the right choice for you. Taking a look at what is available before you retire helps you prepare for the future wisely.
You might also like this article: Common Retirement Expenses Every Senior Should Plan For
Heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke. These top five causes of death in the United States all have a higher incidence of death among rural residents and research points to lack of access to health care as a culprit. Consider these challenges and solutions facing rural Americans.
Health Care Solutions for Rural Americans
(Family Features) Heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke. These top five causes of death in the United States all have a higher incidence of death among rural residents and research points to lack of access to health care as a culprit.
According to the University of North Carolina’s Rural Health Research Program, since 2010, more than 105 of America’s 1,700 rural hospitals have closed. Additionally, a Navigant report found that 21% of rural hospitals are at high risk of closing unless their financial situations improve.
Every day, rural Americans find themselves farther from medical care.
Practical challenges facing patients
Fatal injuries and illnesses aside, rural residents face other practical concerns related to the health care in their communities.
One solution to fill the gap in rural health care is air medical services, which transport patients to critical care facilities in minutes. With nearly 90% of patients transported living in rural areas, air ambulance services are an essential part of health care access in these communities.
However, just like rural hospitals, air ambulances are threatened as well. Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates have remained steady for decades, while operational costs required for air medical services have increased, creating a financially unsustainable situation. Some private insurers also refuse to cover air medical services or pay minimal costs, requiring patients to assume the balance.
How to take action
The challenges facing rural health care access may be significant, but rural residents can take individual actions to make a difference for themselves, their families and even their communities.
Protecting Patients Against the Unexpected
With increasing frequency, insurance companies are not covering the full cost of medical emergencies, leaving families with out-of-pocket expenses they didn’t expect.
If you need medical transport and a physician or first responder determines air evacuation is the best – or only – option to get you to care, you shouldn’t have to worry about the bill you’ll receive afterward. Many emergency service providers have support efforts in place to help you focus on recovery, not finances.
For example, many air medical companies provide patients access to their patient advocates, who work with the patient’s insurance provider to properly cover air medical transport, taking the patient out of the middle. This process can result in significantly lower costs for the patient, often amounting to just the usual copay and deductible.
Visit globalmedicalresponse.com/protect-patients to learn more about these services in your area.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (doctor and man, woman speaking with doctor on computer)SOURCE:
Global Medical Response
If your health care routine doesn’t include preparing for Medicare’s Open Enrollment, now’s the time to kick-start a new healthy habit. Here are five important things every Medicare beneficiary can do to get into the Medicare Open Enrollment routine each year.
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