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Medicare Doesn’t Cover These 5 Things

February 27, 2020

At Signature Senior Solutions, we never want you to feel like Medicare is a mystery. We want you to know all the facts about it. That means understanding the unfortunate limitations to your Medicare coverage. Here’s a closer look at what Medicare doesn’t cover, as well as information you can use so you’re not unprepared with unexpected medical bills in retirement.

Care taker holding their senior patients hands.

Medicare, like most health insurance plans, generally doesn’t cover long-term care costs, which are notoriously high.

Long-Term Care

While most people think that long-term care is the type you receive in a nursing home, it can also include adult day-care services and home healthcare. Medicare, like most health insurance plans, generally doesn’t cover long-term care costs, which are notoriously high.

Statistically speaking, women, on average, need about 3.7 years of long-term care and men about 2.2. According to the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care chart, the national median costs of long-term care ranges from $1,603 per month for adult day-care to $8,820 for a private room in a nursing home. While Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care, you can get long-term care insurance or a combination of long-term-care and life insurance policies to help cover the costs.

Medicare Over Seas

While COVID-19 has put a damper on travel, it won’t be like that forever. And if you’re an avid traveler, you need to know that you won’t have health coverage with Original Medicare when outside the country.

While you won’t have health coverage, even for emergencies, there are very few exceptions you should be aware of. If you’re traveling between Alaska and the lower 48 and you need emergency care while passing through Canada, Medicare may cover the treatment. They will also cover you if you are on a cruise ship within six hours of a U.S. port.

Some Medigap plans do cover emergency care abroad, but the coverage is capped at $50,000 over the course of your lifetime. If you want to feel at complete ease while traveling, it would be a good idea for you to look into a travel health insurance policy. These plans cover everything, including transportations and evacuations in case of emergencies.

Dental Care

As you age, it’s important to continue with your routine dental care. Unfortunately, routine visits aren’t covered under Medicare, and neither will treatments for cavities or other serious dental conditions. Medicare only covers medically necessary dental services. An example of this would be dental surgery for the treatment of oral cancer.

Medicare Advantage plans include benefits for dental care, and if the plan includes dental, it typically covers routine exams and cleanings. If you want to stick with Medicare Original, there are many separate companion dental plans out there. These can offer a more traditional full-coverage plan or discount plans for more common services.

Medicare doesn't cover vision exams. Person holding glasses in front of a blurry eye exam.

You read that right. Medicare doesn’t cover vision care.

Eye Exams and Glasses

By age 55, more than 80% of people wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. To maintain your vision, it’s recommended to get regular vision care. At this point, you probably know where we’re going with this. Medicare typically doesn’t cover eye exams, glasses, or contacts. Medicare will pay for your surgery and a single pair of corrective lenses if you are diagnosed with cataracts. However, it won’t cover the ongoing vision care after.

Routine vision care is generally available with Medicare Advantage plans, as supplemental coverage (which includes a monthly premium) or an included benefit. If you don’t want Medicare Advantage, there are other options for you as well. You can enroll in a vision discount plan depending on where you live, or you can look into discount eye exam options at big-box stores like Wal-Mart, Costco, or Sam’s Club.

Hearing Aids

Roughly one-third of seniors 65 and over are affected by disabling hearing loss. Hearing aids aren’t cheap either; the average cost of a single hearing aid is $2,560.

As Medicare won’t cover the cost, Medicare Advantage will often pay at least part of the cost of a hearing aid. For other options, some Costco stores offer free screenings and hearing aids priced as low as $1500. Shopping online for hearing aids can save you as much as $2000, but make sure you shop around to find a trusted source.

Signature Senior Solutions

The world of Medicare can be a confusing one, but we at Signature Senior Solutions are always here for you. We’ll help answer any questions you have about Medicare, its coverage, and your plan. You’ll be in good hands with us!

Signature Senior Solutions is located in Cave Creek, and services all of Maricopa County and Arizona. If you’re out of state, don’t worry, we have a multi-state license and can serve you too.