Medicare is Not Totally Free

For those of us of a certain age, it seemed like the distant future when we first heard the Beatles sing: "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?"  I clearly envisioned that, by that time, we would live in a world as depicted in The Jetsons.  But as that age approaches (or has been reached), mundane matters like Medicare start to impinge on our thoughts of flying cars and robot maids.

Of course, no one really wants to think about Medicare, with its jumble of letters—Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D.  What a mess.  The basics on what this alphabet soup means can be found on Medicare's web site.

Beyond the details is an important point:  Medicare is not free.  OK, some of it is free (Part A for hospitalization has no premiums, although there is a deductible).  However, significant portions of the coverage, like doctors and medical procedures, require a premium and have deductibles and co-pays.  The same holds true for drug benefits in Part D.

Health care costs can be a large part of a retiree's budget even with Medicare.  These costs, including Medicare premiums, should be considered as part of retirement planning. 

You should also keep in mind that Medicare may not pay for all of your medical needs.  Private insurers offer Medigap coverage to pick up some of the costs not covered by Medicare.  An astute insurance agent that works with such policies can help you navigate the Medicare maze and help keep you protected.

Words of Wisdom

Age is a very high price to pay for maturity. –Tom Stoppard