When you enroll in Medicare, you might find there are things you don’t love about it, like the out-of-pocket expenses of Part B or the lack of dental, vision, and prescription coverage. However, despite the bad rap it gets, a recent survey showed that 90% of beneficiaries are happy with the care it provides, and with their coverage choices. If you take the time to review all your coverage options, and find out how it differs from your employer’s coverage, you’ll find that Medicare has a lot to offer. Here are just some of the reasons why you will love it.
With Medicare, you’ll save money on monthly premiums. Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) premiums are free, as long as you meet the requirements of having worked at least 40 calendar quarters in a job where you paid social security taxes. Part B (medical insurance) premiums are about $144.60 a month. When you compare this to the cost of private insurance, you will find that you’ll be paying a lot less. Even for a healthy 25-year old, monthly premiums will cost around $300 a month under private plans.
Medicare prices also rise more slowly than health insurance plans because they are pegged to inflation. Since 2013, private health insurance premiums have increased 123%, while Part B premiums have only increased by about 25%. That adds up to even more savings the longer you are on Medicare.
You Have Choices!
Medicare also beats private insurance when it comes to plan choice and clarity. When you have employer coverage, you are stuck with whatever healthcare plan your employer offers you, and it can be difficult to change plans. There is also a lot of uncertainty in private plans about how much you will pay for deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.
However, once you enroll in Medicare at 65, you have the choice of enrolling in other plans that help with out-of-pocket costs, such as Medicare Supplement Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans. There are around 10 different Medicare Supplement plans alone to choose from, and with each you will know just how much you will be spending. And, if you find that you are unhappy with whichever Medicare Supplement plan you choose, you can switch your coverage.
Free Preventive Care
Medicare offers free preventive care services to all people covered by Part B. These services include:
- “Welcome to Medicare” Preventive Visit– This initial check-up can be scheduled within the first 12 months of your enrollment in Medicare Part B and includes a host of free preventive services. During this visit, your medical and social history is reviewed and you will get certain screenings, vaccines, referrals to specialists if needed, a vision test, body mass index (BMI) calculation, height and weight measurements, blood pressure measurements, depression screening, and a plan for future screenings you might need in the future.
- Annual “Wellness” Visits– you are covered for one free annual doctor visit at least 11 months after your first wellness exam, then once every year after that. These visits will include services similar to those in the “welcome to Medicare” visit. Your doctor will also ask you to fill out a questionnaire called a “Health Risk Assessment.”
- Screenings– You get free screenings for:
- Cancer screenings for lung cancer, cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, prostate and colorectal cancer.
- Cardiovascular disease
- Alcohol Misuse
- Hepatitis C
- Bone mass measurements for bone density
- Obesity screening
- Weight-loss counseling
- Vaccines- Medicare Part B covers vaccines for pneumonia, the flu, tetanus, and hepatitis B.