Seniors Need to Prepare and Plan for Aging

Too often, the elders in our communities allow themselves to believe a very common misconception. They mistakenly believe that the Medicare program will take care of their health care costs as they age. This is not accurate. A new and rapidly expanding population of seniors are looking for some type of financial means to pay for long term care (home health care) in case of failing health. Many have seen their parents entire retirement savings wiped out because of medical and nursing home costs. The emotional, and financial toll, can be overwhelming.

Yes, many of our elders have been taxed, and paid into the Medicare system. But Medicare is unable to pay for much, and certainly not all, of an elder’s health care needs.

The simple, bottom line: Medicare doesn’t cover everything. If a senior needs certain services that Medicare doesn’t cover, the burden is on them to pay for it. Understandably, seniors and their families need to investigate any/all resources which may provide some financial assistance…local and state funded programs. Or benefits and resources available through a veteran pension, veteran financial assistance, and/or surviving spouse benefits.  Some supplemental insurance plans may provide additional coverage. Or if you are enrolled in a Medicare health plan.

But in the absence of institutional resources, the senior needs to prepare to pay for their retirement, living expenses, and home health services.

Even if Medicare covers a service or item, seniors are generally required to pay deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments.

Some of the items and services that Medicare does not cover include:

  • Long-term care (also called custodial care):  The Medicare website defines as such…A variety of services that help people with their medical and non-medical needs over a period of time. Long term care can be provided at home, in the community, or at a long term care facility including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Most long term care is custodial care. Medicare does not pay for this type of care if this is the only type of care you need. Non-skilled personal care, such as help with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, eating, getting in or out of a bed or chair, moving around, and using the bathroom. It may also include the kind of health related care that most people do themselves, like using eye drops. In most cases, Medicare does not pay for custodial care.
  • Routine dental or eye care
  • Dentures
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Acupuncture
  • Hearing aids and exams for fitting them
  • Routine foot care