Retirement planning is more than just Social Security, an IRA, and a 401K, it’s important to also consider your healthcare.
Create an Advance Directive
An advance directive is a document that names someone you trust to make health decisions if you can’t. It’s basically a durable power of attorney that you can obtain from your attorney, health provider, local aging agency, or state health department. You’ll want to carry a copy on your person, as well as give a copy to your attorney (if you have one), healthcare provider, family, and friends.
Devise a Long Term Care Plan
According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 70% of all persons 65 and over will require Long Term Care (LTC) at some point. It’s important to note that Medicare doesn’t cover Long Term Care, therefore devising a long term health plan while you’re healthy will lessen confusion for you and your loved ones if an emergency or serious illness occurs.
LTC is considered custodial care which includes bathing, housework, caring for a pet, eating, and long term nursing. The ways to plan for this type of care is to designate a family member or friend for your custodial care, research Long Term Care facilities in your area, and look into Long Term Care insurance. LTC insurance can be very expensive and should be purchased as early as possible to be affordable and meet eligibility requirements.
Medicare Options for Short-Term Care
There are other health issues that can come up during your retirement other than becoming incapacitated or needing custodial care. For instance, Skilled Nursing Facility, Inpatient Rehab Facility, and Home Health Care are there to meet your needs if you have an injury or a stroke or are in need of short term care. If you have Medicare, Home Health Care is at no cost to you, except for durable equipment, but if you need Skilled Nursing Facility or Inpatient Rehab Care you could owe quite a bit out of pocket because deductibles and coinsurance applies.
Medicare’s limitless out of pocket costs can be lessened if you have job-based insurance, VA benefits, Medicaid, other retirement benefits or Medicare Supplement insurance (Medigap) or a Medicare Advantage plan. As with Long Term Care, you’ll want to purchase Medigap early (when you first enroll in Part B) to ensure eligibility, as well as keep the cost down.
Along with all of the above,preventive care, like exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet, quitting smoking (Medicare helps with smoking cessation), visiting your doctor regularly, and getting your vision checked, can help prevent illness, falls, and injury.
Amy De Vore helps boomers understand the difference between Medicare Advantage and Medigapfor Senior65. When she isn’t writing about healthcare she is an MFA candidate at University of Riverside, California.