Medicare can cover a lot of needs as you age. Even still, sometimes it gets a bad rap because of what it doesn’t cover. Because these are needs many of us have, or will have, as we age, it’s important to know what Medicare won’t cover.
Here are 4 things to keep in mind:
It’s estimated that nearly two-thirds of people over the age of 70 are affected by hearing loss.
When you join Original Medicare, which covers Medicare Part A and Part B, you might assume that your hearing aids will be covered. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Medicare Part A covers hospital insurance, and Medicare Part B covers certain outpatient services. Medicare Part B will cover the diagnostic exam to detect if you need hearing aids. But you are 100% responsible for 100% of the costs associated with purchasing, fitting, repairing etc. if you only have Original Medicare.
Tip: Because hearing aids and their exams could leave you paying thousands out of pocket, it’s important to consider options for packages that will cover hearing aids. If you shop for a Medicare Part C plan, also known as Medicare Advantage, certain plans will cover the costs associated with hearing aids
You’ve likely been getting regular dental care since you were a kid. As we age, we are more likely to experience dry mouth, gum disease, root decay, and oral infections. This makes it important to continue your routine dental care as you age.
However, routine dental care is not covered by Medicare Parts A and B. It also will not cover treatment for cavities, broken teeth, and other serious dental conditions.
Because Part A is hospital insurance, and Part B is medical insurance, usually the only time dental would be covered is if you have a traumatic injury to your teeth, mouth or jaw that requires hospitalization or surgery at the hospital.
Tip: Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, offers a variety of plans through private insurance companies approved by the government Medicare program. These plans may also offer extra programs and services not covered by Original Medicare, including dental coverage.
Unfortunately, Medicare typically doesn’t cover eye exams, glasses, or contact lenses. This is a big deal, especially considering almost 80% of adults over 55 wear prescription eyewear. And let’s not neglect the fact that by age 65, 90% of seniors have a cataract, with nearly half of them losing some vision because of it.
This makes it very important for older adults to maintain routine eye care.
One thing to note, if you are diagnosed with cataracts, Medicare will pay for the surgery and one pair of corrective lenses. However, ongoing routine vision care will not be covered.
Tip: Medicare Advantage plans generally offer routine vision in their benefits.
Healthcare on foreign travel
If you are filling your retirement with travel, especially out of the country, it’s important to note that Original Medicare usually doesn’t cover healthcare costs outside of the U.S. This includes emergency care.
Being 100% financially responsible for hospital bills can be devastating. If you’re a frequent traveler, finding coverage is hugely important.
Tips: There are Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans that include some coverage for overseas travel emergencies, with some restrictions and exceptions. However, the coverage is capped at $50,000 over the course of your lifetime.
Additionally, you can always consider purchasing a travel health policy if you plan to leave the country.
While there are certain things that Medicare won’t cover, most Americans are satisfied with Medicare. In fact, a recent survey showed nearly 90% of enrollees are satisfied with their coverage choices. Just make sure you find the plan the suites your budget and needs to be happy with YOUR Medicare coverage.