We live during an era when the population is aging very rapidly, and there are lots of questions about health care for senior citizens being asked at the present time. There’s been a very eye-catching statistic circulating around the media for a few months now stating that 10,000 new applicants are lining up for Social Security benefits every day, and this is certainly profound. But what really gets your attention is the fact that this is expected to continue for the next 20 years. With so many people retiring around the same time people are asking a lot of questions, and there are indeed uncertainties over the horizon when you hear talk in Washington about changes to the Medicare system.
You might think that you become eligible for Medicare at the same time that you qualify for your full Social Security benefit, but this is not the case. People who were born between 1943 and 1954 become eligible for full Social Security benefits when they turn 66. After that it goes up by two months per year until 1960; people who were born in 1960 or after become eligible for Social Security on their 67th birthday. Medicare eligibility, on the other hand, has nothing to do with the year during which you were born. Everyone becomes eligible for Medicare when they turn 65.
The thing about Medicare that you have to keep in mind is that it doesn’t cover everything, and there are out-of-pocket expenses involved. This can get rather complex because there is Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Part C, and Medicare Part D to take into consideration. In addition, Medicare does not cover long-term care and this type of care is extremely expensive.
However, Medicaid will cover long-term care under some circumstances even if you have significant assets such as a home, vehicle, and valuable personal possessions. Your spouse can even retain countable assets in excess of $109,000 without impacting your Medicaid eligibility under some circumstances.
The reality is that optimally planning for your health care needs during your retirement years can be quite complicated, which is why it is best engaged in with the assistance of an experienced retirement planning attorney.