A sudden health emergency can quickly derail these dreams, and hidden healthcare fees add insult to injury. Here are a few suggestions to help older adults plan for retirement and stay ahead of unexpected medical expenses for senior citizens.
Updated November 28, 2022
Planning For Unexpected Medical Expenses For Senior Citizens
When planning for the future, many older adults diligently save to live more comfortably in retirement. Unfortunately, rising medical expenses for senior citizens can make this a challenge. A sudden health emergency can quickly derail these dreams, and hidden healthcare fees add insult to injury.
Consider sharing your retirement strategy with an accountant or financial advisor as you plan for retirement. Doing so will go a long way to ensure you can enjoy your golden years despite unexpected costs.
Here are a few suggestions to help older adults plan for retirement and stay ahead of unexpected medical expenses for senior citizens.
Common Medical Expenses For Senior Citizens
A 2019 USA Today article revealed that dental, hearing, vision, and long-term care are four expenses that many don’t consider while planning for the future. These are essential aspects of senior health care, but they also have unexpected costs.
Dental health is just as important as mental and physical health. But unfortunately, many health insurance plans, including Original Medicare, do not cover routine or complicated procedures. Alternatively, you can purchase dental insurance, but these plans are often costly and lack the coverage needed to justify their price.
According to USA Today, the average Medicare enrollee spent more than $900 on out-of-pocket expenses on average. A Medicare Advantage plan is one option for seniors worried about these types of costs. These plans offer the same coverage as Original Medicare but also cover other healthcare costs.
Hearing problems make it extremely challenging to maintain your quality of life. But, unfortunately, Medicare lacks comprehensive coverage for another valuable senior health care service: hearing.
Sadly, soaring expenses prevent many from affording these critical services to remedy hearing issues. (USA Today revealed that a digital hearing aid could cost between $1,500 and $5,000 on average.)Of course, hearing problems make it extremely challenging to maintain your quality of life, so saving for these types of medical expenses for senior citizens is essential.
According to Medicare.gov, Original Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids or exams for fitting hearing aids. However, Medicare Part B beneficiaries can receive coverage for diagnostic hearing and balance exams ordered by their doctor.
Additionally, once you meet the Part B deductible, recipients must pay 20% of the Medicare-Approved Amount. Outpatient hospital patients are also responsible for copays. Because of this red tape, it’s essential that you carefully research plans to avoid unexpected medical expenses for senior citizens related to hearing.
Original Medicare does not cover eyeglasses or contact lens exams, so beneficiaries must pay for these entirely out of pocket. However, it does cover “medically necessary treatments” for glaucoma, cataracts, or other chronic eye conditions. In addition, Medicare Part B does provide one free vision test. However, this benefit is only available in the first year of enrollment.
Talking to your doctor about various costs is one way to plan for vision-related expenses. Doing so can give you a better idea of different costs, making preparing for the future slightly easier.
Nearly 70% of seniors need some form of long-term care, either in a nursing facility or an in-home caregiver. Although Medicare covers some of these expenses, older adults will find that many basic services have very little coverage – or none at all.
USA Today reported that nursing services or care facility stays are only covered if they are due to a medical problem or recovery from a particular procedure. In addition, Medicare does not cover assistance tied to activities of daily living (ADLs). To help offset the astronomical costs of nursing facilities, try to find long-term care insurance during your 50s or early 60s.
How to Plan For Medical Expenses For Senior Citizens
The best way to prepare for unexpected medical expenses for senior citizens is by researching Medicare Advantage and private insurance programs. Medicare Advantage potentially covers other medical costs that other plans consider out-of-pocket, such as:
- Regular vision care
- Hearing aids and other devices
- Custodial care for helping with ADLs
- Dental procedures and preventative care (such as checkups and cleanings).
When planning for long-term care, private insurance is your best bet. However, these types of plans can be costly. If long-term care costs aren’t justifiable, opening a different savings account that accrues interest might be a better option.
Choosing A Health Insurance Plan
Seniors should consider several factors when choosing the right health insurance.
Consider Out-of-Pocket Costs
When shopping for a health care plan, you may focus on more premiums than anything else. However, out-of-pocket costs (or cost-sharing expenses) can quickly turn a low-cost plan into financial trouble.
It’s essential to consider the deductible, copay, and coinsurance as you find the right healthcare plan. Out-of-pocket expenditures can differ from policy to policy.
As of 2016, the Affordable Care Act limits cost-sharing expenses to $6,850 for individuals and $13,700 for families. In addition, under the ACA, seniors are qualified for preventative care, including checkups, immunizations, and other benefits, even if they haven’t met the deductible.
Look At More Than The Premium
Choosing the policy with the most affordable premium is tempting, but you might pay more down the road. Plans with low premiums often have more expensive out-of-pocket costs like deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. A plan with a higher premium might cost more each month, but you don’t have to worry about extra or unexpected bills.
Get the Right Coverage
Ensure that your plan covers medical care specific to your needs, especially if you suffer from a chronic illness that necessitates continuous care. Buying a cheaper healthcare plan might be more affordable at first. Still, it will be for nothing if you suddenly face medical problems not covered by your plan.
Seniors should also take this into account for their prescriptions. Insurance companies must cover a minimum of one drug in every medication category and class. But that doesn’t mean every prescription is covered, so you should look for a plan that includes your particular medicine the most.
Check Network Coverage
As you review various healthcare plans, it would help that your medical team is part of the network. Also, be aware that some insurance plans need a referral to see a specialist and insurer permission before undergoing a pricey procedure.
Read Between the Lines
Lastly, make sure to always read the fine print. Although the ACA has established a minimum standard of care, many insurance companies include loopholes in their policies. Finding the right plan can be overwhelming, but there are resources to help. Visit HealthCare.gov to find the help you need. To speak to someone on the phone, call 800-318-2596.
Are Medical Expenses For Senior Citizens Tax Deductible?
You can take advantage of tax deductions to mitigate medical expenses for senior citizens. Understanding different discounts can go a long way to help you plan for the future. Additionally, you can claim out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance on your tax returns.
Deductions depend on age and adjusted gross income. They might include ADLs and personal care services if a licensed health care practitioner deems you chronically ill. Also, it would help if you discussed the probability of insurance premium rebates for plans that include long-term care or medical insurance with an accountant.
Sadly, seniors often encounter many hidden expenses and fees. Therefore, thinking ahead and learning as much as possible about available deductions is crucial.
MeetCaregivers Can Help You Avoid Unexpected Medical Expenses For Senior Citizens
If you or a loved one needs in-home care support, but you’re unsure about the cost, we can help. Call 1 (888) 541-1136 to talk to a care manager. Or, to get started today, click here to Find A Caregiver.
Check out the Blog for more resources and information about aging in place, family caregiving, and more.
- Backman, M. (2017, February 6). 70% of Older Americans Could Face This Colossal Expense. 70% of Older Americans Could Face This Colossal Expense | The Motley Fool. Retrieved November 10, 2019, from https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/02/06/70-of-older-americans-could-face-this-colossal-exp.aspx?utm_campaign=article&utm_medium=feed&referring_guid=6675c05f-f77f-44bb-a955-5dcf188699a0&utm_source=usa-today
- Backman, M. (2019, May 17). Four senior healthcare expenses no one warns you about. Retrieved November 10, 2019, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/05/17/4-senior-healthcare-expenses-no-one-warns-you-about/39449271/
- CMSGov. (n.d.). Eye exams (routine). Routine Eye Exam Coverage. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/eye-exams-routine
- Fowler, K. (2019, September 11). 4 Hidden Healthcare Expenses That Seniors Should Plan For. Retrieved November 10, 2019, from https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/hidden-healthcare-expenses-to-plan-for
Frankel, M. (2018, February 2).
- Your Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance. Your Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance | The Motley Fool. Retrieved November 10, 2019, from https://www.fool.com/retirement/2018/02/02/your-2018-guide-to-long-term-care-insurance.aspx?utm_campaign=article&utm_medium=feed&referring_guid=6675c05f-f77f-44bb-a955-5dcf188699a0&utm_source=usa-today
- Humana. (2022, August 23). Does Medicare cover eye exams? Does Medicare Cover Eye Exams? – Humana. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://www.humana.com/medicare/medicare-resources/medicare-eye-exam-coverage
- Olivero, M. (2013, August 21). The Hidden Costs of ‘Affordable’ Health Insurance Plans. Hidden Costs of ‘Affordable’ Health Insurance Plans. Retrieved November 10, 2019, from https://health.usnews.com/health-care/health-insurance/articles/2016-11-01/hidden-costs-of-affordable-health-insurance-plans
Updated Nov. 1, 2016
- Samuels, C. (2021, March 10). Caregiver and Senior Tax Tips: 18 Top Questions Answered. 18+ Caregiver and Senior Tax Tips | A Place for Mom. Retrieved November 10, 2019, from https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/senior-caregiver-tax-tips