by Dorothy Philbin | CNBNews Contributor
There are only a few days left before those of us who are over 65 or disabled can change Medicare coverage plans. This is a very difficult decision. There are many health insurance companies who will provide coverage, usually better than the government's, but at a premium. The government's plan leaves a lot to be desired. To start, let's look at what Medicare does not cover.1
1. Medical needs incurred outside the United States. If you plan to travel and you have kept the government's plan, make sure to buy travel insurance. Although it can be a big help it doesn't always solve your problems. Twice a friend was in Mexico and was hurt. They went to the hospital and was told that it would cost $8,000 just to have an ER doctor look at her. Her husband said that they had travel insurance but that didn't solve the problem. Until the hospital actually received the $8,000 they put it on my friend's credit card. How many people have an $8,000 line of credit on their credit cards? Investigate the laws where you plan to go.
2. Premiums. If you choose Medicare Advantage (an upgrade) or another plan there are often additional premiums. That is on you.
3. Long-term Care. On a very few occasions, Medicare might pay for some needs if you are at home, but they are few and far between. Long-term care in assisted living or nursing home is not paid. Again, there is insurance to cover this care but it is very expensive. If you decide to go it on your own assisted living can easily cost $3,000 to $10,000 entrance fee and that much more each month. If you don't have that kind of money you will have to rely on Medicaid after all your assets are exhausted.
4. Dental Care. Medicare pays for nothing. That's the long and short of it. If you have an abscess on your arm it is covered. If you have an abscess in a tooth, you're out of luck.
5. Hearing Aids - As with dental bills Medicare pays nothing.
6. Routine Eye Care. There is an exception - diabetes. Medicare will pay for routine exams, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. The patient pays 20% after having met the deductible.
How Much Will Medicare Cost This Year?
Right now, in 2021 you are paying $148.50 each month for the basic Medicare plan. In 2022 your payment will go up to $170.10. That is an increase of 5.9%. Why such a high increase? The government requires a "reserve account" to cover future problems. The reserve is low because of, what else, COVID. There is also a need to increase the reserve because of the high cost of Alzheimer's drugs. The "baby boomers" are aging and in need of more drugs. 2
Let's take a look at what your Social Security will buy you in 2022. We'll use $1,000 per month to keep things easy.
$1,000 income now
$57 increase 2022
$1057 income 2022
$21.60 basic Medicare increase
$62 current rate of inflation
$ 973.40 is what your social security will be worth in 2022.
Source 1. www.msn.com/en-us/money/personal Finance (dated 11/26/2021)
2. www.cms.gov (dated 11/12/2021)
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