Are either you or your spouse approaching Medicare-filing age? If so, you may be overwhelmed by the planning process. For nearly your entire career, your only relationship with Medicare has been through the contributions you make to the system. Then, when you retire, you’re required to choose the combination of Medicare options that best meets your health care needs and your budget.
While Medicare gives you the opportunity to make changes to your coverage during a limited open enrollment period every year, going through even one year with the incorrect type of coverage could lead to substantial out-of-pocket costs. Given the complexity of the many available options, you may be struggling with the process of identifying the best plans for you or your spouse.
You can ensure you have the proper amount of protection by planning ahead of time. Below are a few tips to help you and your spouse minimize out-of-pocket costs while also maximizing protection. Review your coverage and your needs regularly to make sure you have the best coverage for you.
Analyze your individual needs.
If you’ve each been on the same employer-based health care plan for much of your careers, then Medicare may require a bit of an adjustment in your thinking. Most employer plans offer household coverage to protect both spouses as well as any children in the home. Medicare doesn’t have a household protection. Instead, it provides only individual coverage.
That means you and your spouse may very well need different types of plans and coverage. Consider your needs as individuals and what kind of coverage is important to you. For example, you may have costly prescriptions and may need supplemental drug coverage. Your spouse may not have any prescriptions or health issues and may be interested only in preventive care and catastrophic protection.
Look at the various plans and choose the ones that best fit your individual needs. If one of you doesn’t need robust protection, that could provide an opportunity to save money on premiums.
Beware of the gaps.
There are other important differences between Medicare and employer-based plans. For example, Medicare doesn’t cover dental, vision or hearing treatment. It doesn’t cover treatment provided in another country. And often, it may not cover rehabilitative or long-term care needs.
Consider your need for treatment or care that isn’t covered by Medicare. If you feel you need additional protection, look at Medicare supplemental policies, in which private insurers bundle traditional Medicare protection with additional coverage. Also, consider looking at long-term care insurance to cover any need for extended support.
Take advantage of a younger spouse’s HSA.
Once you file for Medicare, you can no longer contribute to your health savings account (HSA). You can still take distributions from an HSA that you already had in place, but you can no longer add money to that account.
However, if your spouse is not old enough to qualify for Medicare, he or she can still contribute. Your spouse can then take tax-free distributions from that HSA to pay for qualified medical expenses. You can take advantage of your spouse’s younger age to fund his or her HSA even after you’ve filed for Medicare coverage.
Ready to plan your Medicare strategy? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at J. Harris Financial. We welcome the opportunity to help you analyze your needs and develop a plan. Let’s connect today.
This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice.
16240 - 2016/11/15