healthcare costs

Your healthcare needs can change in retirement, as can the way you pay for them. At 65, most Medicare beneficiaries must start navigating a new system. If you are or will be a Medicare beneficiary, one important date that should make it onto your calendar is October 15th. This is the beginning of the Medicare Open Enrollment period, which ends on December 7th. Everyone knows that good healthcare is important for a good retirement, but unless you’ve been a Medicare beneficiary for a number of years, you might not know how the enrollment process works, or how to pick the best plan for you. Between the rising cost of healthcare in retirement and even more Medicare Advantage plans to choose from for 2020[1], there’s a lot to know about your healthcare needs in retirement.

During the open enrollment period you can

  • Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Switch from Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs, to another plan
  • Sign up for Medicare Part D[2]

First, it can be helpful to understand what services Original Medicare covers and does not cover. Original Medicare includes Part A hospital coverage, and Part B which covers doctor visits and certain outpatient services. Note that Original Medicare does not cover vision or dental. To cover those, as well as prescription drugs, you can decide on a Medicare Advantage plan or Medigap insurance. There are many options, and you can change every year during Open Enrollment period.

Making the right decisions about Medicare based on your unique situation is one part of planning for your healthcare needs in retirement. Consider that the average 65-year-old couple retiring today will need an estimated $363,946 to cover their healthcare costs.[3] A comprehensive retirement plan that factors in potentially high healthcare costs, including long-term care costs could help you fit all the pieces of the retirement puzzle together.

No matter your healthcare needs in retirement, you should have a plan to cover them. Medicare is neither free nor comprehensive healthcare coverage. There can potentially be many out-of-pocket healthcare expenses in retirement, and we can help you plan for them. At Epstein & White, we offer complimentary financial reviews as the first step towards a comprehensive retirement plan. Since it’s possible that healthcare could be your biggest retirement expense, we take the cost into consideration when helping you plan for the next 30 plus years.