Health insurance is not something we are excited about. Unfortunately, we all need it though. No matter how old we are, we must make a decision and pick a coverage plan that is right for us as far as what we need coverage for and how much it will cost. We previously talked about Medicare and Medicaid insurances. They are only two types of insurance out of many for you to choose from. Medicare is an insurance you can qualify for after you turn 65 years of age and have at least ten years of work history or you are deemed disabled. Medicaid is an insurance you qualify for if you have limited resources and income. Now we are going to talk about retiree coverage insurances and private sector insurances.
Retiree coverage is an insurance that some seniors can get although it is not common. This insurance is a continuation of their insurance while they were employed. Most employee health insurance coverage ends when they retire. If you have retiree health insurance coverage, you are covered under the Affordable Care Act. This is great news for anyone no matter their age, because there are fees you have to pay if you do not have health insurance. If you are currently enrolled in your employer’s health insurance plan, you are still able to purchase another health insurance if you believe it is necessary. If you do this, you may become ineligible for income-based tax credits. If you are eligible but not currently in the plan, you may still be able to get those credits if you qualify for them. If you keep your health care coverage from your employer after you retire, you are unable to qualify for any enrollment periods that come up. Most employers are not required to offer retiree health insurance coverage. The employers can decide, at any time, to reduce or completely eliminate these retiree health insurance coverage plans So, make sure you keep all of the paperwork from your job when it pertains to your retiree health insurance coverage.
If you need gap coverage because you have retired early, and you are not eligible for Medicare yet, your employer can extend your workplace-based health insurance. If your employer does not offer that, you can buy health insurance coverage that is available in the federal health insurance marketplace or state offered health insurance coverages. If you have to buy your health insurance on the marketplace, you do not have to wait until open enrollment happens. When you apply for your health insurance coverage on the marketplace, they will let you know if you qualify for any tax credits, savings or Medicaid based on the size of your household and your income.
No matter what health insurance you have, seniors should look over their policy every year as their needs can change over time. Things you should look for and compare are if you are taking any new prescription medicines. When you have a type of Medicare health insurance plan, the medications they cover changes all the time. For instance, you may be taking Losartan for hypertension and it was covered 100% by your insurance. It is a new year and now your insurance does not fully cover it anymore. You have a co-pay of $5.00 now. This charge is monthly. Can you afford this? To most people, $5.00 is not a big deal. However, not everyone can afford to pay for monthly co-pays for necessary medications. You need to assess if you are seeing more specialists for any health issues your primary physician can not address. Are these specialists in your network? When a physician is not in your network, it can be more expensive for you because your health insurance may not cover the visits. Have you received any new diagnoses? Are you dealing with new ailments? Another reason to go through your health insurance coverage is because it could save you money. A lot of the times, health insurance coverage can be cheaper monthly during an open enrollment period. You could end up saving thousands of dollars just by making a small change one time a year. Make sure you are negotiating your coverage also. Many companies are open to negotiating prices on items that seniors need like glasses and hearing aids.
Long-term care coverage is important for all seniors to consider. You can buy this separately or possibly add a long-term care rider to your life insurance policy. If you have a large estate, long-term care insurance is for you. This will cover the high cost of assisted living or in home nursing in your later years of life without having to fully rely on your assets. As with any insurance, it is best if you purchase long-term care insurance when you are younger because it is more affordable.
One last thing seniors need to be aware of are denials of coverage. Appeal, appeal, appeal! If a service is denied by your health insurance, appeal their decision. After a few attempts, the denial is usually overturned. Do not give up if the decision is not immediately overturned. If you can’t do it, have a trusted family member, friend or advocate help you. You have a right to coverage and always ask questions if you do not understand something. Good luck and stay covered!