Health insurance is something that everyone should have, no matter what age. Whereas some people feel that they don’t need to worry about such things as they got older, that actually couldn’t be further from the truth!
The older you become, the more important health insurance becomes. Unfortunately, risk of countless illnesses and conditions increases as you age, and so it’s crucial to ensure that you’re able to prepare for that. In this post, you’ll learn how to prepare for old age while looking after your health.
Here are the top health insurance facts seniors need to know.
Health Insurance Gets More Expensive
One reason some seniors are reluctant to sign up for health insurance, is that it gets more expensive. That’s for the reason we outlined above: as you get older, you’re more likely to need that health insurance! That makes you a less profitable gambit for insurance companies, which in turn makes them less likely to want to insure you.
While this is true, there are many things you can do to reduce your premiums and become more appealing for those companies. Then there’s the fact that once you turn 65, you’ll be able to sign up for Medicare. Instead of burying your head in the sand and ignoring it, it’s crucial that you be proactive about protecting yourself.
Generally, the methods for insuring yourself for less revolve around improving your health and fitness. For example, if you quit smoking then this will likely result in an immediate drop in the cost of your insurance. And the good news is that you can check out our article on how to do that here.
Likewise, if you currently have a dangerous job, then this can impact on the cost of your insurance. Other factors are outside of your control (such as family history of disease), but you can actually reduce your insurance bill by shopping around: different companies are better suited to different circumstances and individuals.
A Bit About Medicare
Medicare is made up of four separate parts:
- Part A – Covers hospital costs
- Part B – Covers routine care (visits from a physician, for example)
- Part C – Medicare Advantage Program (Bundles Part A, B and sometimes D into one plan)
- Part D – Prescription drugs
If you are enrolled in Social Security, then you will be automatically enrolled into Medicare. However, if you aren’t currently receiving Social Security and you don’t manually sign up for Medicare by the age of 65, you will potentially need to pay more for the same services. Part B premiums actually go up by 10% each year that you fail to sign up!
You can actually sign up three months prior to turning 65 (and three months after). The sooner you sign up, the less likely you are to experience a gap in your insurance and the less likely you are to end up paying more.
Not Everything is Covered by Medicare
You also need to make sure you carefully read all the small print surrounding your Medicare cover. That’s because not everything will be covered, and you may risk falling through the gaps if you aren’t careful.
For instance, Part A will cover 100% of hospitalization costs (after the deductible) but only for 60 days. After that point, you’ll need to pay a share of the cost, and this will go up to 100% after 90 days. This is a reason you may still decide to take other forms of insurance.
Likewise, some medications won’t be covered by Part D, and Part B will require a monthly premium.
It’s important to research Medicare thoroughly and read the fine print, then decide whether you still want to take out additional insurance.
Types of Senior Health Insurance
There are a number of different types of senior health insurance providers that you can look into, should you decide you wish to2. These include:
- Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs): These plans require you to receive all of your medical care from a particular health care provider in your area (with the exception of medical emergencies). This means you won’t be able to choose your preferred hospital or healthcare visitor, so you need to research the facilities that are included near you.
- Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO): These plans let you choose your own doctors and organizations, as the name suggests. You’ll pay more as a result.
- Point-Of-Service Organizations: This is a scenario where your primary care physician will manage your care. You can choose additional hospitals and doctors outside of that network, but you’ll need to pay more.
Some insurers will include Medicare Advantage in their plans, while some employers and organizations may offer insurance already. Certain types of life insurance also include health insurance too, and there may be some areas where this overlaps.
In short, you need to ensure that you conduct thorough research before you decide on the best option for you.