Is Medicare expensive?
While Medicare costs can add up fast depending on an individual’s needs and coverage selections, it is a myth that Medicare is unaffordable or that it is always more expensive than other forms of healthcare coverage. In fact, many people are surprised to discover that Medicare can lower their medical expenses. There are customizable options available for individuals considering Medicare, and these are worth exploring with the guidance of an experienced Licensed Insurance Agent to better understand all the Medicare available options and their associated costs.
Medicare may be expensive for some depending on their financial situation, but Medicare costs vary based on everyone’s healthcare needs and what type of Medicare coverage they select. Let us look at the costs associated with some of the most common types of Medicare coverage: Medicare Advantage and Medigap, also known as Medicare Supplement, Plans.
Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C or MA Plans, combines Medicare Parts A and Part B and, in many cases, Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. If you are wondering what Medicare Advantage Plans cost or why you have heard that some Medicare Advantage Plans are free, you may be pleased to learn that Medicare Advantage Plans are often quite affordable. Medicare Advantage Plans are federally funded; thus, most plans boast $0 premiums.
However, there is an exception for Part B, as Medicare beneficiaries must pay those premiums directly. The 2024 Medicare Part B premium is $174.70 per month. While most beneficiaries will pay this amount, individuals with higher overall earnings may be required to pay a higher monthly premium. In addition, the premium amount is subject to change each year, along with deductibles and other costs associated with the selected Plan. However, Medicare Advantage Plans, or Part C, do have out-of-pocket limits to protect beneficiaries from becoming financially overburdened.
In many cases, utilizing Medicare Advantage can be like having an all-inclusive health plan, making Medicare Part C appealing because it not only offers coverage for standard healthcare needs like doctor and hospital visits but also typically includes benefits such as:
Additionally, many Medicare Advantage Plans offer coverage or discounts for helpful services like transportation, healthy meals, over-the-counter item benefit allowance, and gym memberships, just to name a few. If Medicare expenses are a concern, Medicare Advantage plans should be considered as a comprehensive, low-cost alternative to Original Medicare.
Medigap, or Medicare Supplement Plans
Medigap, or Medicare Supplement Plans are insurance plans designed to be purchased separately from but coordinate with Original (“Governmental”) Medicare coverage. This is important because, despite all the benefits of Original Medicare, it does not cover all the costs associated with healthcare services and supplies. Medigap can help cover some of the remaining healthcare costs, including coinsurance, deductibles, and copayments.
When making your Medicare selections, you might ask yourself, “How much is Medigap insurance?” The answer to that question is subjective and based on your unique healthcare and financial needs. It is important to consider that some Medigap policies offer coverage for services that Original Medicare does not cover, including travel outside of the United States, but Medigap does not cover long-term care, vision, dental, hearing aids, eyeglasses, Prescription Drug Coverage, or Private Duty Nursing. The cost of your Medicare Supplement premium will vary based on your chosen Plan, where you live, and other demographic factors.
Medigap coverage can typically be customized to meet your unique needs, but the more coverage you choose, the more it is likely to be costly. Not all Supplemental Plans set out-of-pocket maximums, so you could incur some significant expenses if you are suddenly impacted by a new illness or injury or if you need specialty care or equipment like eyeglasses or hearing aids. Depending on your healthcare needs, Medigap, or Medicare Supplement coverage, can be a great option – but it is important to be aware of potential expenses that could add up fast if you select Medigap coverage.
Another important consideration in deciding if Medicare coverage is right for you is the potential benefits that extend beyond cost savings. Transitioning onto Medicare can create a great deal of personal freedom by reducing your dependence on full-time employment for health benefits, thus opening new doors for the future, whether that is retirement by choice or leaving the workforce to focus on your healthcare needs.
A wide variety of factors comes into play when determining Medicare costs. Learn more about Medicare costs, including deductibles, premiums, and common out-of-pocket costs, so you can choose the plan that meets your specific needs.