Health Insurance: Why It’s Necessary and Where to Begin
Basic finances for senior retirees can be a major headache. The cost of living is higher than it has ever been. Medical bills can be the single highest monthly bill for the American senior. There is more than one health insurance provider that can aid seniors struggling with this financial burden, but where does a senior begin?
Not only do medical bills cause anxiety, the health insurance market can be overwhelming and confusing. Everyone is different so there is no one-size-fits-all solution to health care. It’s helpful to know what options are out there and what they offer. We’ve compiled a short list of the basic different options of health care providers in the USA.
Health Insurance Options
Medicare is the most popular and widely marketed health care option for people 65 and over. It is a federally sponsored program and offers four types of plans for those looking for cheaper insurance options.
The first plan offers hospital insurance which is basically the big things. It covers overnight hospital stays, nursing, and hospice. The second plan covers routine medical check ups, labs, ambulance services, and things like wheelchairs and walkers. These two plans are the original medicare.
The third plan is offered through private insurers. It’s called Medicare Advantage and combines Plans 1&2 together with Plan 4 (the drug prescription plan) to ensure their customers are getting the best benefits possible. This plan often covers things like dental, vision, and hearing check ups that the first two do not.
The fourth plan is an optional expanded drug prescription program. This plan offers a wider option of pharmacies and prescription drugs for those on Plans 1&2.
Medigap plans do exactly what the name promises. They cover the gaps left by the original Medicare plans. These plans come from private insurors just like Medicare Plan 3, but are regulated by the federal government. They cover copays and deductibles,
Although it sounds a lot like Medicare, Medicaid is different. It is a healthcare program funded by the federal government, but run by the individual states. Medicaid is offered to a wider age demographic depending on income and household size.
Medicaid is generally considered more flexible than Medicare when it comes to picking a general care practitioner. However, Medicaid plans vary by state and can often look very different, including having different names than just Medicaid, depending on how the local government has chosen to deal with it.
If Medicare and Medicaid do not seem like the right options for your senior loved one, there are a plethora of private health insurers to research. Every privatized health insurance provider has many different plans created for individual needs. If you’re not sure where to even start looking, check out this article on Consumer Affairs for some options.
Health care sharing is a fairly new option on the market that operates on a very old concept. Members are matched with one another and their monthly payments go towards medical expenses. Most of these health-sharing companies were created by and for those of the Christian faith. They have specific rules like any private healthcare provider, but may not be the right fit for everyone.
Aliera is the only one that is not strictly by and for those of the Christian faith. Every health-sharing program is a little different, so it’s best to research each one based on your individual needs and whether or not they sell plans for senior healthcare.
Many medical sharing programs are legally health insurance providers under the law and you will be considered insured when opting into a health-sharing program. For more information on some of these programs, click here.
If you are a military veteran and have not yet applied for veteran health care from the government, now may be the time to do it. Not all VA hospitals are the same so it would be best to research the hospitals in your area before making an appointment.
Health Insurance: There’s An Option Out There for You
Health insurance can be overwhelming and confusing. Knowing which healthcare provider is right for you or your loved one can be half the battle. The other half is picking a program or plan that fits individual health needs. The more you know about the plans your preferred healthcare provider offers, the more power you have to become your own or your loved ones healthcare advocate.