Retirement is not something that will automatically fall into your lap. Yes, if you worked steadily throughout your life, you will qualify for Social Security and Medicare. However, careful retirement planning is important if you want to enjoy your senior years to the fullest.
The government programs that are in place to provide for senior citizens are best viewed as safety nets. If you expect too much from these programs, you may find yourself in a difficult situation during the latter portion of your life.
Limitations of Medicare
Before we look at some of the limitations of the Medicare program, we should explain how eligibility is obtained. While you are working and paying taxes, you are accumulating retirement credits. It is possible to earn as many as four credits in a year, and most people do in fact get four credits each year, because the requirements are modest.
For example, in 2015, you get one credit for every $1,220 that you earn. Once you have at least 40 credits, you will qualify for Medicare when you reach the age of eligibility. Under currently existing laws, the eligibility age is 65.
Medicare does not pay for everything in full, and you have to pay premiums for certain aspects of the coverage. There are premiums for the prescription drug portion, and you have to pay a premium for Part B, which is the segment that covers outpatient care and visits to doctors.
There is a deductible for hospitalization coverage, and there can be hefty co-payments for extended stays that exceed 60 days in duration.
If you would like to obtain detailed information about the out-of-pocket expenses that Medicare recipients are facing at the present time, visit this page on the official Medicare website: Medicare Costs.
The Big One
The above expenses can add up, and depending on your situation, they can have an impact. However, in many cases, the out-of-pocket expenses for things that are covered are quite manageable.
That being stated, there is a potential expense that is not covered by Medicare at all. Most seniors in the United States are eventually going to need long-term care, and Medicare does not pay for living assistance. This creates a very significant void, because custodial care is extremely expensive.
For many, the solution is Medi-Cal. This jointly administered state/federal program does pay for long-term care if you can qualify. Because the program is intended for people with significant financial need, you have to act in a measured and informed manner to obtain eligibility without losing anything in the process.
Free Elder Care Consultation
If you have concerns about long-term care coverage, we would be glad to assist you. Our highly experienced elder care specialists can answer all of your questions and make recommendations based on your unique personal situation.
To set up a free consultation, send us a message through this page: San Jose CA Elder Care Management.