Cost vs Need; Weigh several options

The median annual income for Americans 65 or older in 2019 was $ 27,938. One of the biggest expenses in retirement is health care for most Americans.

Even if you are comfortable with your [Medicare] coverage, it’s always a good idea to participate in open enrollment to make sure you don’t miss out on new benefits or experience unexpected cost increases.

According to a government report from 2021, the median annual income of Americans 65 or older in 2019 was $ 27,938. (1) For most Americans, health care is one of the biggest expenses in retirement. This year, in particular, increased Medicare Part B premiums and health care costs have left many Americans wondering whether or not they can afford adequate health insurance coverage for their needs. Dave Rich, CEO of Ensurem, a Florida-based insurance and product distribution technology company, recommends that seniors use the annual Medicare enrollment period to assess their health care coverage options.

“During the period of open Medicare enrollment,” says Rich, “we urge seniors to contact a knowledgeable Medicare insurance agent – someone who understands all of the Medicare options available – to help them assess their needs. and their options. ”

By its nature, Rich says, the health insurance situation for Americans over 65 is complex and confusing. For 2021, for example, there were a total of 3,550 Medicare Advantage plans available in service areas across the country, giving the average registrant 33 plans to choose from. (2)

A good counselor, Rich says, will first seek to understand a person’s health care needs and budget constraints, and then take the time to educate them about diet options and possible changes ahead. The annual period of Medicare open enrollment, he says, which ends this year on Dec. 7, is a good time to reassess your coverage, make changes, or keep current coverage.

“Plan costs and coverage can vary from year to year,” Rich notes, “both for Original Medicare and for private offerings like Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Insurance. Even if you’re comfortable with your current coverage, it’s still a good idea to participate in an open enrollment to ensure you don’t miss out on new benefits or experience unexpected cost increases.

It is possible, he says, that some seniors may need financial assistance to pay their insurance premiums and related out-of-pocket expenses. Sources of assistance include Medicaid, a joint federal / state program, state-level Medicare savings programs, and Medicaid All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) programs. (3) Qualified Medicare insurance understands these programs and how they work with different private health insurance plans.

No matter what a senior’s financial situation, Rich says, the agent’s role is to cut costs and explain all the ramifications of any plan they discuss. To facilitate this process, he recommends that seniors have the following information ready for officers:

  • Target budget for monthly bonuses
  • Information from the attending physician
  • Medicines taken regularly
  • Travel plans within and outside the United States

What’s most important in this conversation, Rich notes, is two-way transparency. It’s important that agents explain what exactly is included in a health insurance plan and make sure the beneficiary isn’t paying for coverage they don’t need.

“The people best qualified to guide seniors through this thicket,” says Rich, “are licensed Medicare insurance agents who are under contract with several top-rated insurance companies. look for such an agent and make sure they give you all the answers you need.

About Ensurem:

Ensurem, headquartered in Largo, Florida, is a leading technology and product distribution company serving operators and consumers in the vast US senior market. The company offers Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, vision, dental, hospital, and final expense insurance. It also provides end-to-end solutions to operators, including product development, digital marketing and consumer-centric insurance technologies. For more information, please visit assurerm.com.

1. “Profile of Older Americans. ACL Administration for Community Living, acl.gov/aging-and-disability-in-america/data-and-research/profile-older-americans.

2. “Private Medicare Advantage Health Plans (Part C)”. Medicareresources.org, October 8, 2021, medicareresources.org/medicare-benefits/medicare-advantage/

3. “Get help with the costs.” Medicare, medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/get-help-paying-costs.

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