(BPT) – 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 for organic produce and planning your bucket-list trip to Tuscany to notice.
But no matter how great you feel, when age 65 is on the road just ahead, it’s time to start planning for retirement. One big issue for retirees is insurance.
When you get that gold watch at your retirement party, the clock is ticking on your employer-sponsored health insurance. Traditional 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 help you stay healthy for years to come.
Here’s a short primer into Traditional Medicare, and options for supplemental coverage.
Medicare Part A and B: When you turn 65, you’ll automatically be enrolled into 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 does not cover co-pays, 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.
Medigap: Within six months of signing up for Part B, it’s time to enroll in Medigap insurance. As its name implies, it covers what Medicare doesn’t, including co-pays, 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 is vital to your quality of life and overall health.
Coverage like VSP® Individual Vision Plans cover eye exams, which can help you detect not only glaucoma and other eye problems but health issues like diabetes and hypertension as well, before you have any signs or symptoms. VSP covers contacts and glasses, too, so get a funky pair for every day of the week, and opt for lens enhancements like no-line multi-focal and light-to-dark tinting. VSP typically saves people $200 per year on their eye care, and has the largest network of independent doctors, so it’s likely you won’t have to change if you have one you trust.
With VSP, you’ll receive services at rates well below walk-in prices, and you can use your HSA for co-pays, too. Visit VSPDirect.com for more information.
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 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.
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 your insurance that this won’t happen 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 your adventurous retirement worry-free. Haven’t you earned that?