Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What Does Medicare Cover?

Jan. 26, 2015
Dear Cathy:
I had been with my partner for a long time but we were never married.  After he died I was not left with any benefits so at age 62, I am only living on my Social Security benefits.  I moved in with my daughter in order to make ends meet.  That way I can help her out with her children's daycare.
My eyes are beginning to fail but I can't afford an operation.  I look forward to turning 65 so I can receive Medicare but many people are telling me it still won’t cover everything.  What does Medicare cover?  Senior in Idaho
Dear Senior:
Don’t count on Medicare when you reach 65 years of age.  In the U.S., Medicare.gov  is a national social insurance program, administered by the U.S. federal government since 1966, that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older and younger people with disabilities as well as people with end stage renal disease and persons with Lou Gehrig's disease.
Medicare covers about half of all health care costs for those enrolled in the program. For the rest, you’re on your own.  That means you’ll be on the hook for out-of-pocket costs for uncovered services such as long-term health care as well as dental, hearing and eye care, along with supplemental insurance costs.
Don't wait to use these services to get cataract, glaucoma or some other eye surgery.  For instance, if you have lost some of your vision due to cataracts, because you only have Medicare, the doctor will quote you on prices according to your insurance.
So if you want to see again or want your maximum level of vision restored, you will need the funds to do this.  Medicare gives you the cheapest service which might only restore your vision back 30%. The eye doctor will ask you "Okay you want to be able to read and play cards – right?"  

That will be all the services they will provide to seniors -- so Medicare will only give you the lowest level of treatment to do just that.  To learn more on your rights as a senior read "Golden Years: How To Age Gracefully and Take Care of Seniors."

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