Beyond Medicare: Supplemental Health Plans to Consider in Retirement

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With people living healthier and longer than ever before, 65 is the new 45. If that milestone birthday is right around the corner for you, odds are you’re too busy logging your 10,000 daily steps into your fitness tracker, shopping at your local farmers’ market and planning your dream vacation to pay much attention to its impacts.

No matter how great you feel, when age 65 is around the corner, it’s time to start planning for retirement. One major consideration for retirees is insurance—both Traditional Medicare and supplemental plans you may need or want.

If you’re lucky enough to retire at 65, once you’ve clanked glasses at your retirement party—virtually or in person—the clock is ticking on your employer-sponsored health insurance. Medicare Parts A and B are a given, but they don’t cover everything, like vision, dental, and prescription drugs. That’s why it’s a good idea to check into supplemental insurance to see how it can help you stay healthier throughout the next season of your life.

Here’s a quick look at Traditional Medicare and options for supplemental coverage:

Medicare Part A and B

When you turn 65, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare, whether you’re still working or not. Part A is hospital insurance, and there’s no monthly premium. Part B, medical insurance, is a little trickier. There is a monthly premium, so if you’re still working and covered by your employer-sponsored health insurance, you don’t need it just yet. When you retire and lose your coverage, that’s the time to sign up for Part B.

But Part B doesn’t cover copays, deductibles, and health care if you travel outside the U.S., so you’ll need additional insurance if you don’t want to pay for those things out of pocket. That’s where a Medigap plan comes in.

Beyond Medicare: Supplemental Health Plans to Consider in Retirement

Medigap

Within six months of signing up for Part B, it’s time to enroll in Medigap insurance. As its name implies, it covers the aforementioned things that Medicare doesn’t: copays, deductibles, and outside­ the ­U.S. health care.

Neither Medigap nor Medicare Part B covers dental, most vision (outside of glaucoma screenings for high-risk patients, cataract surgery, and eye trauma) or prescription drugs.

The good news? There’s supplemental insurance for all three.

Vision Coverage

You only get one set of eyes, and as you age, taking care of them with a quality vision plan is vital to your quality of life and overall health.

Individual vision coverage through VSP® includes an annual eye exam. Your eye doctor can detect glaucoma and other eye problems, and health issues like diabetes and hypertension before you have any signs or symptoms. VSP covers contacts and glasses, too. That means you can get a fun pair for every season and opt for lens enhancements like progressives and light to dark tinting. Even though it’s a plan you buy on your own, typical savings is over $300 per year.* Plus, they have a large network of independent doctors and retail locations. So, if you have an eye doctor you already know and trust, it’s likely that they’re part of the VSP doctor network.

With individual vision insurance through VSP, you’ll receive services at rates well below walk­in prices, and you can use your HSA towards copays.

Dental Insurance

According to the National Association of Dental Plans, retirees are the least likely to have dental benefits, which is ironic because, outside of teens who need braces, they’re a group who often needs it the most. Many plans cover a range of procedures from regular cleanings to crowns and root canals, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re covered if more major work is required.

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Medicare Part D

We’ve all heard the horror stories of seniors having to choose between getting the drugs they need and paying for food. Medicare Part D is the insurance you get to keep this from happening to you. You’ll need to join a plan from an insurance company approved by Medicare, and those plans vary, so choose carefully and make sure yours covers the prescriptions you take.

By using supplemental insurance to cover what Medicare doesn’t, you can live the retirement you’ve earned worry­ free.

For more information, visit VSP Individual Vision Plans today.

Footnotes

Check your Medicare Plan to see if your vision care needs are covered and/or if a VSP Individual Vision Plan is right for you. VSP Vision Care does not coordinate benefits with Medicare. 

*Savings are based on national averages on annual eye exams and most commonly purchased frame brands and may vary by VSP plan and purchase selection, average savings are determined after benefits are applied.  

If you qualify for Medicare but don’t know where to start, we have licensed insurance agents ready to answer your questions and help you enroll in Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement Insurance, and Prescription Part D plans.

If you qualify for Medicare but don’t know where to start, we have licensed insurance agents ready to answer your questions and help you enroll in Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement Insurance, and Prescription Part D plans.

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