Retirement

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Health Care Options after Retirement

What you need to know about Medicare

You spend most of your life working, setting an alarm each morning, living by deadlines and hopefully saving enough for retirement. As you approach retirement, it is important to consider how this milestone will affect many aspects of your lifestyle, including your health insurance coverage. Most people have heard of MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
, the federal government program that provides health care insurance to most Americans aged 65 years or older, as well as certain disabled individuals. Yet, many people wait until they turn 65, or are ready to retire, before they familiarize themselves with MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
and its many details even though it is an important part of a healthy retirement. Questions to consider before you retire:

  1. When will I be eligible for MedicareMedicare
    A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
    ?
  2. What does MedicareMedicare
    A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
    provide, and what health benefits will I have to pay for out-of-pocketout-of-pocket
    Amounts such as copayments and deductibles that an individual is required to contribute toward the c... more
    ?
  3. Are there health insurance options that can supplement MedicareMedicare
    A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
    coverage or provide more coverage than the government MedicareMedicare
    A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
    program?

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a government program that provides health care insurance to most Americans aged 65 years or older, as well as certain disabled individuals. More than 55 million Americans receive this health benefitbenefit
The term "benefit" may refer in general to a health plan (your "benefits"), specifically define the ... more
.

MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
covers many basic medical expenses as explained below, but it does not cover everything. For instance, MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
does not typically pay the total cost of covered services or supplies, thus beneficiaries often have some out-of-pocketout-of-pocket
Amounts such as copayments and deductibles that an individual is required to contribute toward the c... more
costs . Work with your doctor to help plan for the coverage that will best meet your health care needs.

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Medicare Parts A, B, C and D

MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
consists of four types of coverage, Parts A, B, C and D. According to the government's Medicare website, most people are enrolled automatically in Medicare Part AMedicare Part A
A government supported health insurance plan that helps cover inpatient hospital care, care in nursi... more
without taking any action, upon turning 65 or having a qualifying disabilitydisability
A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities o... more
.

Medicare Part AMedicare Part A
A government supported health insurance plan that helps cover inpatient hospital care, care in nursi... more
helps pay for inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facilities and hospicehospice
A facility that provides supportive care at the end of life for individuals with terminal illnesses ... more
care. In most instances, there is no premium for Medicare Part AMedicare Part A
A government supported health insurance plan that helps cover inpatient hospital care, care in nursi... more
coverage because people usually pay for Part A coverage through a federal tax while working. If you continue to work after age 65, you will continue to pay taxes to MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
, while receiving Part A benefits. However, if you or your spouse did not pay taxes while working, you may still be able to purchase Part A coverage.

Medicare Part BMedicare Part B
A government supported health insurance plan that covers doctors' services, outpatient hospital care... more
helps cover doctors' services, outpatient hospital care, physical and occupational therapy, and some home health carehome health care
Skilled nursing or other therapeutic services provided in a home setting. Often home health care is ... more
. When you turn 65, you have the option to enroll for Part B coverage, or not. Medicare Part BMedicare Part B
A government supported health insurance plan that covers doctors' services, outpatient hospital care... more
usually requires payment of a monthly premium. For most people who become MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
eligible in 2011, Medicare Part BMedicare Part B
A government supported health insurance plan that covers doctors' services, outpatient hospital care... more
coverage costs $115.40 per month. This monthly premium may vary depending on when you enrolled for Part B coverage and whether the rates increase next year. Higher income beneficiaries pay an additional income-related monthly adjustment amount. To determine your MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
premium, please visit www.medicare.gov.

Parts A & B are sometimes called "Original MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
" or "Fee-For-Service" MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
. When insured under Parts A & B, you may see any providerprovider
A licensed health care facility, program, agency, physician or other health professional that delive... more
who accepts MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
, but are subject to the annual MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
deductibledeductible
A set amount that you must pay for your medical services before the health plan starts to pay.... more
and for any fees that MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
does not cover. MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
Supplement Plans, sometimes called "MedigapMedigap
Insurance that supplements the reimbursement provided by Medicare for medical services. Medigap plan... more
" Plans, can help pay for what Parts A & B don't cover. Please see more information about MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
Supplement Plans below.

MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
Part C
is another way to get your MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
benefits. Under Part C, you receive your health benefits from what is called a Medicare AdvantageMedicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage is a health benefits plan provided by a carrier as an alternative to traditional ... more
Plan. These plans, which are managed by private insurance companies that are approved by MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
, combine Part A, Part B, and, sometimes, Part D (prescription drug) coverage into a single policy. Medicare AdvantageMedicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage is a health benefits plan provided by a carrier as an alternative to traditional ... more
Plans must cover medically-necessary services. These plans take the form of network-provider-basednetwork-provider-based
A licensed health care facility, program, agency, physician or other health professional that delive... more
plans such as PPOs, HMOs, and other plan options and co-payments, coinsurancecoinsurance
The portion of the cost of medical services that you pay for, after you first pay any deductible you... more
or deductibles vary from plan to plan for these services. Often, Medicare AdvantageMedicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage is a health benefits plan provided by a carrier as an alternative to traditional ... more
Plans offer additional benefits not covered under MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
, which may include 24-hour access to nurses, coverage when you travel, and discounts on products like hearing aids and eyewear.

Medicare Part DMedicare Part D
A government supported health insurance plan that helps cover prescription drug costs for qualified ... more
provides coverage for prescription drug benefits. Standalone prescription drug plans will generally require you to pay a monthly premium and may require a deductibledeductible
A set amount that you must pay for your medical services before the health plan starts to pay.... more
, co-paymentco-payment
A set dollar amount or portion that you pay for your medical services. Usually, co-pays start after ... more
or co-insuranceco-insurance
The portion of the cost of covered medical services paid by the patient under a health plan, after f... more
for each covered prescription you fill. Plans vary by cost, number of drugs covered and pharmacies you can use, but all plans must meet a minimum standard for drug coverage set by MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
. MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
prescription drug plans work with other types of MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
health planhealth plan
A health plan that you buy or that is provided by your employer. It pays for health care services. I... more
options including Original MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
(Plans A & B) and MedigapMedigap
Insurance that supplements the reimbursement provided by Medicare for medical services. Medigap plan... more
plans. Work with your MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
plan providerprovider
A licensed health care facility, program, agency, physician or other health professional that delive... more
to find the Medicare Part DMedicare Part D
A government supported health insurance plan that helps cover prescription drug costs for qualified ... more
plan that best meets your prescription drug needs. And, as health needs change, it is always a good idea to evaluate your options during the MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
Annual Enrollment Period from October 15 through December 7.

MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
Supplement Plans
, or MedigapMedigap
Insurance that supplements the reimbursement provided by Medicare for medical services. Medigap plan... more
plans, are sold by private insurance companies that are approved by MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
. MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
Supplement Plans are designed to help pay costs, or "fill in the gaps," that Parts A & B do not cover. Depending on the MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
Supplement Plan you choose, coverage for the annual MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
deductibledeductible
A set amount that you must pay for your medical services before the health plan starts to pay.... more
and co-insuranceco-insurance
The portion of the cost of covered medical services paid by the patient under a health plan, after f... more
amounts for excess Part B expenses (for example, physical therapy, out-patient hospital services and doctor's visits) and may be included.

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What are my health benefits options if I retire before age 65?

Depending on your age and health care needs you may have several benefits options. Review your retirement benefits by contacting your human resources department, company intranet site or health benefits company. If your company doesn't offer full retiree health benefits, you may need to price other group coveragegroup coverage
Plans supported by an employer or employee organization that provide health coverage to employees as... more
or individual policies to supplement your benefits.

COBRA will cover retirees for up to 18 months before they turn 65. If you retire before age 63 1/2, evaluate your health coverage needs, including doctor visits, prescriptions, and potential long term care coverage. Then consider purchasing an individual health care plan. For more information about your retirement options, check out the feature article Daydreaming About Retirement.

Find out if you qualify for MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
. Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to find out if and when you qualify for MedicareMedicare
A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
. You'll need to provide your Social Security number and date of birth when you call.

Checklist:

  1. Find out if/when you are eligible for Medicare Part AMedicare Part A
    A government supported health insurance plan that helps cover inpatient hospital care, care in nursi... more
    , Part B or both.
  2. Determine if your employer offers any retiree medical and/or prescription drug coverage.
  3. Enroll in Parts A & B. The Social Security Administration advises people to enroll in MedicareMedicare
    A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
    benefits three months before they turn 65. If you already receive Social Security, you will automatically be enrolled in MedicareMedicare
    A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
    Parts A & B.
  4. Talk with your doctor, health insurance companies, and/or a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional to choose the MedicareMedicare
    A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
    medical and/or prescription drug plan that best meets your health needs. This could be a MedicareMedicare
    A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
    Prescription Drug Plan, a MedicareMedicare
    A Federal government program that provides health care insurance to people aged 65 years or older, a... more
    Supplement Plan, A Medicare AdvantageMedicare Advantage
    Medicare Advantage is a health benefits plan provided by a carrier as an alternative to traditional ... more
    Plan, or a combination of them.
  5. You also have an annual opportunity to select or switch plans during the Annual Enrollment Period, which typically runs from October 15th through December 7th of each year.

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