As we plan for retirement, most of us expect that Medicare will provide for our healthcare needs. And yes, you will become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, around the time many people choose to retire. But contrary to popular belief, Medicare will not necessarily cover everything you might need with regard to healthcare! It’s important to understand the limitations of the program, so that you can make a plan to pay for these items in some other way.
Dental. Generally speaking, Medicare does not cover dental exams and procedures. The program also does not cover dentures. However, some Medicare Advantage plans include dental coverage, and a supplemental plan might be another option for you.
Vision. Medicare will cover treatment for medical problems with your eyes, such as cataracts. But you will need to self pay for routine vision exams and corrective lenses, or look into a supplemental vision insurance program. Some Medicare Advantage plans do include this coverage, but those plans might not be available in all areas.
Cosmetic surgery. With regard to cosmetic surgery, Medicare will only cover reconstructive procedures related to an injury or illness. For elective cosmetic treatments, you’re on your own.
Podiatry. Some podiatry services are covered by Medicare, while others are not. Check your plan carefully before visiting a podiatrist, and make a plan to pay for uncovered expenses.
Hearing aids. Original Medicare will not cover hearing exams or hearing aids, but does cover medical treatments relating to the ears. Some Medicare Advantage plans do include hearing aid coverage, or you can look into one of the newly approved over-the-counter hearing aids that will soon be available.
Nursing homes. Medicare coverage for rehabilitative treatment in a facility is quite limited. If you need to move into a nursing facility in the long term, you will be responsible for that expense. Look into long-term nursing care insurance as you prepare for retirement.
Medical care received in other countries. If you plan to travel outside of the country, you might be interested to know that Medicare will not cover the cost of medical treatments received abroad. A Medigap policy can provide for this need.
In some cases, Medicare Advantage plans provide more comprehensive coverage than Original Medicare. But because each plan is different, we recommend that you work with us to identify a policy that best suits your needs. Continue to prepare for retirement, understanding that you will need to self pay for some medical services.