Many individuals receive health care coverage through their employer. For some individuals, this coverage can continue after retirement through a pension plan. However, most elderly Americans are faced with the decision of either relying solely on Medicaid and Medicare benefits or supplementing those benefits with additional insurance. Many carriers offer such supplemental health insurance for the elderly, but not all plans are created equal.
Medicaid is funded by the federal government administered health insurance program for low-income, elderly, disabled and families with children. The federal government sets broad parameters for the program, but individual states have considerable discretion in the details. Medicare is a federally funded health insurance program for the elderly and other qualified individuals. Medicare Part A primarily covers hospitalization, emergency care, skilled nursing, hospice, and some other related services.
Most individuals who qualify for Medicare do not pay for Part A, as Medicare payments are from one’s paycheck while he is employed. Individuals who do not qualify for Part A without payment may purchase Part A under certain circumstances. Elderly individuals automatically qualify to apply for Part A at the age of sixty-five. Medicare Part B primarily covers other medical care such as doctor’s visits, outpatient care, and other related services. Unlike Part A, Part B charges a premium. This premium varies from year to year, and may be higher than average for individuals who do not apply for Part B during their application window. An elderly individual may apply for Part B during the seventh-month period that begins three months prior to his sixty-fifth birthday. Individuals with limited income may qualify for assistance in paying for Part A and Part B.
When shopping for supplemental health insurance for the elderly, one should first determine the type of coverage needed. If prescriptions medications are covered under Medicaid and Medicare, one should not choose a plan that includes prescription medications. He should next decide the amount of money he can afford to pay for insurance. Once he has chosen the benefits that he needs, and elderly individual should compare benefits and rates from a number of different companies and plans. While many companies offer low-rate coverage for the elderly, this coverage may not provide the required benefits or it may carry a high deductible.
Conversely, plans that have a high premium may not fit within the budget of an elderly person or it can provide more benefits than necessary. It should also determine the maximum out-pocket expenses before the insurance that he will pay his bills. This information is particularly important if we experience prolonged hospitalization or requires long-term care. Before choosing a health insurance plan, a person should read the fine print of the policy to ensure that insurance, it must obtain the insurance they need.