Medicare for Retirees

2014 Medicare and Medigap Updates

Medicare for Retirees

Becoming familiar with the specifics of Medicare for retirees is one of the most important concerns that one should be mindful of as baby boomers begin to make the transition from the office to staying at home. The prospect of dealing with exorbitant medical expenses, especially at an advanced age, is nothing to scoff at. Having Medicare for retirees to rely on can be the saving grace that people need to put food on the table instead of having to spend all their pension on medical bills.

When one approaches the age of 65, that is the time when planning for a Medicare policy takes front and center on one’s mind. For those who have contributed to the payroll tax specifically earmarked for Medicare for a period not less than 10 years, Medicare Part A is a free policy that one can enroll in. The same is true for spouses of those who have made contributions to Medicare. The contributions are typically 1.45% of an employee’s salary and are matched by the employer with another 1.45% bringing the total monthly contributions to 2.90% per taxpayer.

Once these eligibility criteria, among others, are satisfied, a person can enroll into Part A Medicare covering hospitalization insurance. Part A pays for up to 90 days of hospitalization with the first 60 days fully shouldered by Medicare and the remaining 30 days settled via co-payment terms plus entitlement to an extra 60 days maximum of “lifetime” reserve which also works via a co-payment agreement.

Eligibility for Medicare Part A also entitles a policy owner to enrolment eligibility in Part B Medicare although this is a voluntary program that requires premium payments for membership. Part B Medicare policy owners can expect medical insurance coverage such as physician and nursing services, x-rays, and diagnostic tests via the laboratory among others. It also covers medical services such as dialysis, blood transfusions, and other outpatient hospital procedures including ambulance transportation. The standard Medicare for retirees Part B premium as of 2012 is $99.90 per month.

Part D Medicare is another optional program embedded in the Medicare system which allows members to enroll into a policy that specializes in prescription drug plans. This allows policy holders to specifically tailor their prescription drug coverage to the specific needs as prescribed by their attending physicians. The coverage extent can vary depending on the specific type of drugs selected for coverage.

As an alternative to Part D, Medicare policy holders can also explore enrolling in Medigap plans which is an auxiliary to what standard Medicare offers. Medigap plans are managed by private insurance companies and governed by existing federal legislation in order to standardize the administration and coverage of the plans. With so many plans to choose from, retirees can specifically determine the plan that suits their needs best and then use this to augment the provisions as specified in their basic Medicare plans.

While Part A and B Medicare for retirees is fairly straightforward, prospective policy owners should put sufficient effort into assessing their specific needs so they can determine whether they need the voluntary enrolment to Part B and Part D plans or a Medigap supplement policy. Medical expenses are increasing at an alarming rate, necessitating the use of co-payment plans which can help bring down costs without sacrificing one’s access to all-important medicines. With Medicare for retirees, one now has a fighting chance of gaining access to much-needed medical services without drilling a hole in their wallet. In this tough economy, that counts for a lot of good benefits that are guaranteed to help ease one’s burdens when it comes to spending on medical needs.