What you ought to know about the cost of health care

Sue Daugherty
Mar 23, 2010

Serving Our Seniors has started to study Erie County's older population (65 to 75-years-old) and those "soon-to-be" senior citizens (55 to 62-years-old). The responses to the surveys have been returned and the data is now being tabulated.

As the surveys were mailed back to our office I would read some of them. I was somewhat surprised at what appears to be a lack of awareness that the "soon-to-be" senior citizens have about the cost of health care once they are on Medicare. So, I thought this would be something good to blog about.

I'm going to give a general description about how Medicare works. I'm not going to get into the complicated details. (If I did, this blog could go on forever.) I'm just going to give you enough information to give you a general understanding of how an older person is insured under our Medicare system. After you read it, tell me if you are surprised by the costs and comment on how prepared you are to meet these expenses in retirement — don't forget to factor in inflation.

Traditional Medicare insurance has 3 parts to it:

Medicare Part A is insurance that covers you while you are in the hospital. There is no monthly premium for this insurance once you are eligible for Medicare, that is, age 65 or permanently and totally disabled. Medicare Part A covers 80% of the bill when you are in the hospital. It's up to you to pay the 20% the Medicare doesn't cover.

This is where "Medigap," (also called, "Medicare Supplemental Insurance Policies") comes in. Medigap insurance is an insurance policy you can buy from a health insurance agent. Our experience is older people who have health problems, pay about $200 per month for this insurance.

Medicare Part B is insurance that pays for out-patient services, i.e., doctors visits, physical therapy, occupational therapy, lab work, etc. Today this insurance costs $96.40 per month. This amount is automatically deducted from your Social Security check. You don't have to buy this insurance if you don't want it. The alternative, however, is to pay for all of your out-patient services out of your own pocket. (Probably not a good idea to take on that financial risk in later life.)

Medicare Part D. This is the prescription drug insurance. Today, there are 52 different prescription drug insurance plans to choose from and they range from about $16.60 to $98.00 per month. The difference in price reflects how comprehensive the coverage is. But all of them have restrictions of some sort or another.

In addition to the premium costs are the deductibles and co-payments that come due when you use a health care professional. And keep in mind that Medicare does not pay for dental care or eyeglasses.

So tell me, are you planning for these costs in your retirement budget?

Comments

Anonymous

We're mid-50's and my husband should be able to keep his medical and prescription coverage for both of us. If will become secondary to Medicare at age 65. For us, would this replace Medicare B and D?
Thanks, Sue, for your article. Advanced planning sure beats planning-on-the-fly.

Anonymous

It least she has her facts together for this article!

Anonymous

Just let my wife & me have the same care as Nancy Reagan & Ted Kennedy, God knows we worked harder than they have.

Anonymous

You're providing a great service, thanks!

Rick Studer

To: Re Sues Blog

AT LEAST she has her facts together, not It LEAST,

Take a breath before you think, it would really help you. I know its exciting to think you’re clever, but you're not.

I know, I know take a short walk on a long pier…

Anonymous

Who cares Rick Studer, Sue can have all the facts straight that she wants. The point of re sues blog is its the same tired old rehashed crap in Sues blogs. I try to comment and share my opinions and facts on world issues, but week after week we get the same old elderly or heatlhcare crap. At least the teenage blogger has something to say and isnt like listening to a broken record. Besides Studer what do you know about straight?

Rick Studer

Vandalay you’re an idiot. What the hell do you think this blog is about anyway? This isn’t “Car Talk” with Poke and Hope. Get a clue!

I bet that drunk priest friend of yours, Father Dale, even knows this is a blog for aging people. And speaking of Father Feel Good, the Amushungkwa Indians haven’t had a fertility festival in 20 years. The only fertility dancing going on in Jemez is behind the tribes casino with the squaws fueled up on fire water and tax free cigarettes. So why don’t you and RSB combine your IQ’s and make a 69.

Rick Studer

Don't all you readers think I'm clever? I think I'm clever. Don't you love reading my writing? Did I tell you I'm clever?

I'm kissing myself as I type this. Oops, missed a spot...

Anonymous

I'd like to see the qualifications for Medicare to be based on one's employment situation as opposed to age based.

Many boomers are being laid-off or taking early retirement and as many know, health ins. during the blackout period can be very expensive to non-existent.

Anonymous

what is Part C? what does it cover or not cover? how much does it cost? is it necessary or a good thing to have?

Anonymous

This woman is worse than Elsebeth. She has a wacked up liberal socialist message on virtually everything she blogs about. Come on SR, turn her off for awhile and give us all a break. Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Anonymous

Come on. Get over yourself. No one is forcing you to read this blog. Everything isn't about you and what you want. There are many of us who appreciate the information that Sue provides.

Anonymous

It is so pathetic that so many neophyte are so ready to use words like “liberal” and “socialism” to beat someone over the head and are so proud of themselves for doing it. Most of these self espoused social commentators consider themselves to be of the “conservative” ilk of course.

I would bet dollars to donuts that 9 out of 10 of these great pontificators have no idea what these words actually mean. And would probably humiliate themselves trying to explain even one of these words to an interested bystander. In reality you bloviating lemmings are only repeating the mind numbing prater of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.

What’s really interesting is that you are doing the heavy lifting for a group of people who have nothing in common with who you really are. Do you need health insurance, do you need Social Security? Is gas getting expensive for you? How about your job? Are worried about losing it? Ask any of these questions to the task masters of your point of view, I’ll bet they say no. Who’s really the fool here? Here are some definitions, without looking at the answer, what sounds more or less like your point of view. These are straight from Merriam Webster’s.

1: tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions: traditional marked by moderation or caution c: marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners

2: a movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity b: a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard c: a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties

3: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods,
a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

1, conservatism, 2, liberalism, 3, socialism

When you call somebody a socialist, is this what you really believe they want?

Anonymous

Hey Studer I see your idol Clay Aiken finally came out of the closet, when are you going to?

Anonymous

I could have written more, but then you readers probably would have read less.

My mom told me I was smart. I am aren't I? I really need to hear it. Please somebody agree with me. You can tell that I'm educated right?

Anonymous

Please no one say anything bad about Rick Studer, because censor Sue is at it again. Apparently the only free speech in this country is hers. I dont know what your beef is against me Sue but Its gettin old. I have done nothing to you. Studer can call me an idiot a moron or whatever, but you constantly defend him by deleting my posts. Are you and Rick Studer an item? Are you in cahoots? Are you going to delete this post because you are afraid of the truth?

Anonymous

hi master studer, you make a very valid point. i agree totaly with you. now when are we gonna meet up.

Anonymous

LOL:
It AT - hahaha - so you have discovered I type poorly, not as you suggest otherwise.

Oh, and i think u shld get a LIFE!

Gulliver

TO WHAT ABOUT: You asked "What is Part C"? Part C is fairly new. It's an insurance plan that you pay an insurance company for. It's an alternative to the original Medicare insurance. You still have to be "Medicare eligible" to get it.

It's more complicated to explain than regular Medicare. But if you want to know more we are hosting 2 public forums on it just to understand what it is.... CONSUMER BE AWARE: UNDERSTANDING MEDICARE Vs. MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS (That's another name for Part C). Oct. 14th at Vermilion Public Library 2pm. Oct. 15th at Erie Co. Service Center, 2900 Columbus Ave - Sandusky. RSVP by calling Serving Our Seniors 419-624-1856. An audience size of 15 or more is required to justify the time and travel of our speakers. -- Sue

Anonymous

The Wall Street Crash of 1929, the 1960 Nixon – Kennedy Presidential debates, two indelible history shaping events, 31 years apart. One, the stock market crash, led to the Great Depression, the other, changed a slim Nixon lead in to a slim Kennedy lead, possibly changing the outcome of the 1960 election.

Why connect these two events? Similar dramas are playing out this week in Washington and across the political front pages. President Bush is asking for a 700 billion bailout of Wall Street financial institutions. Depending on the outcome of these actions, savings, mortgage, retirement funds could all be lost or dramatically changed from their present value.

That was the same scenario that happened in 1929. After a painful 10 years that saw food lines, lost fortunes, The New Deal, Works programs and deficit spending things began to slowly turn around. Finally, with the help of Hitler and the work World War II brought, America started to become prosperous again. What lies ahead after this week? Maybe more trouble than paying your Medicare C.

John McCain trails Barack Obama by a slim margin this week. McCain, in a move some call politically calculated, others say politically brilliant, has suspended his campaign to return to Washington to “help” with the crisis. McCain also plans to miss Fridays scheduled debate. How will this play out? Will McCain get a boost in the polls for bipartisanship? Or will Obama get the edge for being levelheaded, only time will tell.

One thing is for sure, events this week might shape all of our financial futures all the way through retirement. We also may point to this week as a pivotal moment in the 2008 Presidential election. As history tells us, this may be a week to pay attention!

Rick Studer

I'm taking my meds. I swear I am. But I can't help myself sometimes.

Was I rambling again? Believe me, it wasn’t me. It was this voice in my head.

The docs say that my mom was too rough on me during potty training.

Anonymous

How many Rick Studers are there? One is more than plenty. I would like to take the time to thank Sue for once again removing one of my posts. I said nothing vile or vulgar. Maybe I hit a little to close to home or as Rick would say a little to close to foam. You leave a post with the word hell in it but remove mine that simply stated the facts and had not one drop of cussing in at at all. Well I expect you will make me proud and remove this post in a communist move to silence me, a truth speaker, but yet you let people like Rick Studer ramble on. Thanks for providing a place of free speech and chat for a select few.

Anonymous

The Amushungkwa Indians tie the ill and elderly on to papoose boards and take them out in the desert and leave them there for the god of sky to take care of

Rick Studer

Mr. Vadilill, I take umbrage with your use of the word communist to lament the position you find yourself in. A communist would just kill you, or perhaps send you and Father Fermentation to gulag. May I suggest a more felicitous relationship would be that between the poopi and the scoopi…

Anonymous

Ms. Daughtery, it my recommendation that you remove any and all postings that in your opinion are not relevant to the topic or that you believe are immature or ill mannered.

There needs to be an adult present in this mix.

Anonymous

Jeff the last time I checked this was the country of free speech, freedom of the press etc. Further more how is your comment in any way at all relevant to the current topic? You are talking with a double standard. We all have parents and dont need your misguided attempts at parental control. If you dont like what you read then dont read it. Go back to polishing your statue of John McCain and leave the rest of us who actually have something valid to contribute alone.

Rick Studer

As usual I find myself on the opposite side of the road as Mr. Vandalor. Jeff, I thought your observations were well thought out, well presented and right on.

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, “ask not what the blog can do for you, but what you can do for the blog”. I would like to invite you to become the blogs czar of “maturity and good manners”. It’s obvious that you have experience as perhaps a hall monitor in high school or maybe even a crossing guard for a local school, all fine and useful experiences.

Currently I try to watch the spelling and the grammar, with you handling manners and maturity I think we could help take this blog to the next level. I’m sure we could be the envy of all the blogs on the Sandusky Register. All the participants add a little something, under the watchful eye of the blogstress of course, but it works! I look forward to working with you Jeff.

PS “Regarding Sues Blog” has terrible manners….

Rick Studer

P.S.,P.S.

Jeff, put an "s" on that "it" in your first sentence... ;)

Anonymous

what we ought to know about insurance; no one can afford it!

Anonymous

While reading (or panning) many of these posts, the thought that the inmates are in charge of the asylum comes to mind.

Rick Studer: The belief that you feel such a strong seated need to highlight a minor typographical error when you obviously understood it within context, IMO demonstrates the potential for some serious control and perfectionism issues. You need professional mental help.

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