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

Well Jeff I see once again you are not practicing what you preach. You who complained about keeping on the subject of the blog, have once again veered off the path. Dont come on this blog with your grandiose attitude and lecture us and then do the opposite thing. As I told you before if you dont like reading the blog the way it plays out them dont read it, or better yet step up to the plate and start your own blog. Its obvious you have serious control issues and you are the one that needs the mental help.

Anonymous

And the subject of the blog is what? Nuff said.

Rick Studer

I was going to respond to this drip but changed my mind. Go back to selling shoddy over priced real estate Jeff or is it monogramed napkins for Bar Mitzvahs?

Anonymous

Rick Studer: Since you view yourself as God's gift to English grammar, have you actually produced a paid publication or do you just troll blogs spewing your mental effluvium?

Kramer

I'm out there Jerry & I'm loving it.

Rick Studer

Dear Jeff Krabby-Bill, do you really think your small mind could “trick” me with bravado?

Anonymous

The sea was angry that day my friends.

Rick Studer

Why not mephitical effluvium? It has a little more flair, which you could use Jeff…

George, God bless you, you are a perfect example that intensive ma*terba**on therapy does not work, perhaps Jeff might reconsider and pirouette out of this treatment himself…

Anonymous

It appears that Jeff has been silenced. Some people like Jeff want to come on the blogs and throw there weight around and disappear after 3 posts. And if that really is Jeff Crapbill I have less respect for you than I did before. Oh wait....zero from zero is zero nevermind.

Anonymous

Rick and Art: Two trollers. Which one gets to play the male in the relationship?

Rick Studer

Gee wiz Jeff, for a guy who started out complaining of immaturity and bad decorum you seemed to have put on your American flag thong and are now skipping wildly through the asylum!

But I understand, we must always remember the credo of Republicans, “Do as I say, not as I do”, skip on right winger, skip on…

Anonymous

Just leave the GOP out of this.

Anonymous

You aren't *ay. Not that there's nothing wrong with it.

Anonymous

Rick 'The Clown' Studer:

Other than your cartoonish innuendo, there ain't much up stairs is there boy?

Yea, right, lecture me about 'mature.' LOL.

Go play with your dolls troll and leave the blogs to adults.

Anonymous

Since the company my husband worked for closed (a little over 2yrs. ago), we've had to FULLY carry our own Medical Insurance, at the tune of $500 plus a month, with a $5,000 Deductible. Anthem BC/BS hasn't paid a penny on any medical bills, but we keep paying for insurance. Only if we have a MAJOR ILLNESS/INJURY will it be of use! We've recently dropped one child (in college w/ins. through his employer), upped our Deductible to $10,000, just to lower our PREMIUM. Then they turn around and raise our PREMIUM, and haven't had to pay a penny for ANY MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR ANY OF US FOR 2 YRS.! So, you ask what are we able to put towards healthcare when retirement comes, ZERO! There IS nothing left-over! What a SCAM!

Rick Studer

I think you meant upstairs, not UP stairs…

Anonymous

Ricky, ricky, ricky.

Gulliver

TO WHAT RETIREMENT BUDGET: Thank you for your posting. I appreciate you commenting on the topic. (More than you probably realize) Your circumstances are incredible -- incredibly ugly. I wish more people were as aware of health care costs as you are. Only when enough people are as affected as you are, will we see a change in the way health care is financed. -- Sue

Anonymous

Most at my age (early 50's) see a grim future. Some things got to change.

Anonymous

Jeff,Jeff,Jeff you were so quick to preach but have not one time discussed anything about the blog topic. The only thing you have succeeded in doing is insulting multiple bloggers with your down talk and racist use of the word boy. There is no call for your racism and obvious hatred to mankind. I do believe you owe eveyone on this blog a formal apology. Perhaps you need to concentrate on something more your speed, I hear Pat Catans has some great color by numbers books. Buy yourself one of those and you will be halfway there, you will just need to find someone to read you the numbers and you will be complete. Leave us serious bloggers alone Jeff and crawl back under your rock you narrow minded twit.

Rick Studer

Hey Vandalay, don’t worry about this cracker.

When I went to UTEP I learned two things. If I was going to make it in the real world I better learn the language and the grammar of the man.

The second thing, the man will always try to pull you down, if you can out think him and out spell him you’ll beat him.

Anonymous

Whenever the Amushungkwa Indians caught a white man with bad medicine they would bury him in sand up to his neck then blow tobacco smoke in his face to cleanse the bad spirits.

Anonymous

trying to get by in life, working very hard to help provide for our family with Ins. Benefits that aren't somehow subsidized by the Taxpayers (you people know who you are). Should anyone besides Sue have any legite thoughts CONSTRUCTIVE of course (thanks for yours, Sue) they would be greatly appreciated! Otherwise, it seems to me a few LATENT HOMOS have taken over this blog site! Not that I have a problem with that, as I work with several that are pretty good pals. You know, like girlfriends! GUYS, COME OUT OF THE CLOSET ALREADY! It'll make life a whole lot easier for you! Aren't you SUPPOSED PROFESSIONALS? One would never know that by the GARBAGE thrown back-n-forth here!

Anonymous

What a slppery slope we have slid down. back in the 1930 when we past social security we wanted to make sure people had something to help them out, if they had nothing as they got older. in the 1960's the great society was passed so what people down on there luck could have a helping hand up. in the 1970s the community redevelopement act was meant help inner citys communitys rebuild and promote ownership of those communities via home ownership.
these were all plan with the best of intentions. and as the old saying goes the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
we cannot help anyone unless they want to help them selve. people who are responsible well succeed in this country people who are not will stuggle.
we have to ask our selves what each of us need to so to achieve our dreams and no longer depend or expect the goverment to do it for us.
there are only two type of people in this country the responsible and irresponsible.

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