Making the Right Choice on Medicare
While I usually prefer science fiction television shows, there have been a few medical shows that I have enjoyed. They always seem to have improbable plot lines, and notably no patient ever had to grapple with catastrophic financial bills.
In the last six years I both completed my Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) designation and met (and married) my wife, a doctor. As you can probably guess, much of my professional and personal time has been spent thinking about and discussing healthcare.
In this post, I want to focus on what you need in addition to Original Medicare, the national health insurance program for Americans over age 65. Hopefully, the pointers below will make the sign-up process a little less daunting.
"Medicare Representative to Caller: I'm just going to ask you a few questions to transfer you to the right department. They will ask you the exact same questions and be of no help."
First, you’ll quickly come to learn that not everything is covered under Medicare (i.e. long-term care, hearing aids, etc.). To fill the gaps in coverage, you will apply for additional coverage consisting of an Advantage or Supplemental Plan. Choosing the right plan doesn’t need to be difficult as long as you ask yourself the right questions.
If ALL of the below statements sound like you, an Advantage Plan would make sense. However, if one or more of the below statements are false, a Supplemental Plan is most likely the better fit.
- I usually see my doctor once a year.
- I am not managing a chronic medical condition.
- I receive all my care close to home.
- If I was diagnosed with a serious condition, I would still receive care close to home.
- Money will be tight in retirement.
- I value cost savings over medical peace of mind.
Overall, if funding a Supplemental Plan is feasible I would recommend doing so, as it provides the most flexibility and broadest coverage.
As always, I am happy to invite you in to review your plans for Medicare and discuss different hypothetical scenarios, to help ensure that you make the right decision for you.
If you'd like more information, I have a short primer written by Dr. John Luo, MD. He is a great resource here in Rhode Island whose sole focus is helping you choose the right Medicare coverage - if you'd like a copy, give me a call and I will send one out.
While these discussions never make it to Primetime TV, I assure you that they are important for your future!
Added 04/09/2019 by Jason Siperstein, CFA, CFP®