June 15, 2018

Shocking Retirement Medical Expenses: How Do You Cope?


A couple over 65 will spend at least $260,000 on medical care during the rest of their life. Even with Medicare and Medigap coverage that mountain of money is always on our mind. How is that for a figure guaranteed to disrupt your thoughts of a satisfying retirement?

My wife and I have been relatively lucky. While the American health care system is an absolute mess and not likely to get better in the near term, we have avoided big bills and debilitating problems. Betty has a series of medical issues she deals with by pushing through them, adjusting parts of her life to accommodate them, and waiting for Medicare coverage next year to proceed with some likely surgery.

I had a minor heart issue while on vacation three years ago, the normal number of colonoscopies for someone my age, an occasional bout of acid reflux which seems to be stress-related, and stiff knees and fingers. All in all, for a couple in their late to mid 60's, we have not been faced with medical issue or expense that we couldn't handle. 

What I am interested are your experiences. I have friends who are facing much more serious problems and more uncertain futures than we are. I know several of the blog readers have lived through some major medical issues that  caused real problems. My youngest brother had to go through a serious bout of colon cancer a few years ago. He is now 3 years cancer-free but that was a scary and uncomfortable time for him and his family.


What have you had to face? How did it affect your life? What adjustments have you made to your retirement? Have costs of medications or procedures forced you to ration care?

How is your attitude? What helped you get through the trials of whatever you faced? How has any of this affected your family?

What can you share to help the rest of us if we are faced with a serious, potentially life-threatening issue? 

48 comments:

  1. My 69 year old husband is in a nursing home, in the final stages of dementia. When it became unsafe for both of us for him to remain at home, there really was no other choice. Many years ago we opted out of long term care insurance, due to the steep increase in premiums each year and the minimal coverage it provides. Conversations with those who are trying to utilize the benefits of this insurance confirms our concerns.

    The private pay cost of nursing home care for my husband is $144,000 a year. The long term care policy we were considering would have paid only $30,000 of that amount.

    I've been working with an elder care law firm to apply for medicaid for my husband. They were able to advise me of strategies whereby I am able to protect assets in my name only. So grateful for this! Otherwise the nursing home care cost would have eaten through our savings at a rapid rate. Dementia can linger on for many, many years. And with my husband at such a relatively young age, the financial outlook was grim.

    As a country, we have yet to figure out how to meet the needs, both financial and physical, of those in need of long term care. It's something no one wants to think about, but the reality is that with the aging baby boomers, we may need to address this issue sooner rather than later.

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    1. I am so sorry for you and your husband's situation, Carole. This is exactly the situation that our current medical system is unable to handle. We shouldn't have to be in the position of needing legal maneuvers to protect our future from this type of medical and economic disaster.

      Your information on LTC policies mirrors what my research reveals: The waiting period and exclusions make them marginally useful and dangerously unstable as an industry.

      My very best to you and your husband. I trust the move to Medicaid will be successful and allow you to not worry as much about what will happen to the two of you.

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  2. Hi Bob! My sister just passed away from Colon Cancer and the only way to deal with the lingering bills is for her surviving husband to declare bankruptcy. Crazy isn't it? When a person has to declare bankruptcy for medical bills the "state" (meaning you and me) still ends up paying for it. I strongly believe in universal health care. Just the stress of all those bills makes any medical condition worse. As for my husband and I, it sounds like we are in a similar condition as you and your wife as far as our current health. Thom turns 65 in November so we're looking forward to a reduced fee on our HUGE medical insurance costs. As for the future, we'll all have to wait and see. ~Kathy

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    1. My condolences to you and your family for your sister's passing. This is a good place to remind everyone, male or female, to have regular colonoscopies. Actually, I had one just 3 days ago. Everything is clean and clear with no problems.

      I noticed medical experts are now urging all of us to start at 45 instead of the previous recommended age of 50. I am sure that has to do with our diets...not the best for colon health.

      Medicare is the gift that keeps on giving. If anyone, ever, from either side of the aisle, starts to mess with it, may the wrath of God descend upon them.

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  3. Funny you should post this today, Bob. I just put up the 'Good News' I got from Penn this week. On a scale of 1 to 10 I am at 2, in terms of being in danger of dementia. They found none, but there are memory issues over time. It was the biggest relief ever! Our insurance and Medicare covered most everything and I am grateful for that! Check out the post when you get a chance. I am guessing you guys heard that big sigh of relief from here!
    b

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    1. I read it just a little while ago. A big sigh of relief from here, too. The best news, Barbara. Now, enjoy your weekend with walking and wine (maybe a little less?)

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  4. My plan if I am ever diagnosed with a major illness is to put myself on the front porch with an unlimited supply of cigarettes (I still crave them), wine, and pain killers until I pass peacefully in my sleep (I hope). I'd rather have my husband and family spend my retirement money than these greedy insurance and healthcare corporations. In a way, I'm trying to be funny, but really...that IS my plan. Either that or rob a bank and go to jail where I'll probably get GREAT health care. Kidding, not kidding.

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    1. You sound a little conflicted. I urge you to go with the kidding explanation.

      It can be frustrating and scary. But, your loved ones are likely to want to show that love by being by your side.

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    2. Kidding or not, I agree with you, Kelli 100%. Some of these problems could be solved with nationwide assisted dying for those that so chose. And beyond a terminal illness, it should also include quality of life not quantity. And this should be able to be set up in advance just like a living will and actually an expanded living will.
      No way am I going to a nursing home. If I'm not able to fly to Switzerland to take care of things, I'll find another way out. Part of it is the terrible waste of money, but the big factor, for me, is quality of life.

      The nursing homes, big pharma and some doctors are all about the money. Keeping you alive is a lucrative business.

      We should all have a choice.

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    3. Totally agree with taking yourself out when life is going rapidly downhill in an irreversible manner. Let's don't pretend that everyone has children who are thrilled to take care of us through a decade of dementia.

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  5. For what it's worth, a big chunk of the $130,000 per person average cost estimate is attributable to Medicare and Medigap premiums (which increase with age) over the rest of one's life. The real net is more like $80,000, which isn't trivial but seems more reasonable.

    I have a Medigap Plan G, which covers everything that Medicare doesn't pay (except the annual $147 deductible), so no co-pays, no co-insurance, etc. If you can't swing the premium, Advantage plans often have no additional premium beyond what you would have paid Medicare, at the cost of a restricted provider network.

    For those healthcare expenses that are not well covered by any plan, such as long-term or dementia care, I think that more people will turn to non-U.S. providers. Already in places like Mexico and Malaysia, there are all-inclusive (medical, meals, housing) communities that cater to this market, at a monthly cost that's perhaps one-quarter of the typical American offering. And in these cultures, the elderly are revered, so staff consider it a privilege rather than a minimum-wage burden to be working there (which is what I observed in my Dad's high-end, Quaker-affiliated community in New Jersey). Local medical care is not the Cleveland Clinic, to be sure, but probably as good as a typical American city's, with doctors who generally speak English. Since Medicare doesn't operate outside the U.S. you have to pay out-of-pocket, but prices are ridiculously low, sometimes 90% less. For non-emergency procedures like joint replacements, you can always return home temporarily.

    Obviously, this isn't for everyone, and it's certainly less convenient, but it's worth exploring if the alternative is poverty!

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    1. You are right about that $260,000 cost including premiums, but that is a lot of money deducted from Social security checks for all those years. It doesn't bite as badly because we never see the money. $130,000 is still not available to spend on something else so it legitimately has to count as an expense.

      I have the F supplemental plan that covers everything Medicare doesn't, including the yearly deductible. So far, I have been pleased.

      Medical care in other countries shocks Americans with how low cost and high quality it generally is. I had a post a month or two ago about becoming an expat. One of the major reasons is what you note: a high quality lifestyle, including medical care, is available for much less than in the states. And, no argument from me: it beats poverty or skipping treatment and meals!

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    2. I'm not at all sure that Americans are impressed with the high quality care in countries with socialized medicine. My sister is an expat living in Belgium. I'm seriously UNimpressed with the quality of her care the couple of times she has needed it. We have also heard horror stories of care coming out of Canada. The issue is not black and white.

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    3. I am very impressed with the high quality of care in all of the democracies I have lived in that had socialized economies (a difference) and I can say that as an expat living in those countries. Were they imperfect? Absolutely. Were they all better than American care at a lower cost? you bet!

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  6. Hi Bob- a note from Canada on this theme. While we have public healthcare here, that only covers Doctor visits and hospitalization. If your doctor prescribes drugs, you're on your own for the cost unless you have a work place benefit plan. When we turn 65, the government pays for the drug cost beyond the first $25.00. This is saving me a tidy sum as one of my prescriptions was $300 every 3 months...now just $25. Also seniors with modest incomes( singles- $27,300, couples- $54,600) get up to $5,000 worth of dental services( in a 5 year period). In terms of optical benefits, there's free eye exams, plus a credit of $230 towards glasses, once every 3 years.

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    1. Could you please send the dental, vision, and drug help southward (after our respective leaders stop sparring with each other!). I didn't realize Canada's coverage was so complete.

      Thanks, Gerry.

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    2. Hi Gerry - I am also Canadian, living in Ontario. I am curious what province you reside in - I checked into my OHIP coverage after reading your post, and we don't have any dental or eyeglass coverage and we pay $100.00 drug deductible per year.
      I'm moving to your province!!

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  7. Bob, as I (and others) have posted here before, we are very fortunate to live in Canada where this issue literally does not cross our minds. I can't imagine the stress it must cause many Americans. According to the figures I've seen, we pay less per year in health care taxes, and for that smaller tax bill we get universal health coverage. On top of that higher tax bill, many Americans pay insurance premiums, deductibles etc.

    Our system is far from perfect, and yes there are often waiting lists for more "elective" procedures, but I have never spoken with anyone in Canada that would want to have to deal with a system similar to that in the U.S.

    Best of luck to everyone moving forward.

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    1. None of us who live here are happy with our system, but it has become so politicized that a resolution seems awfully far away. Now, with the threat of pre-existing conditions back on the table and as a way for companies to deny coverage, I frankly don't understand what is happening.

      It is almost as if those in charge (I can't use the word, leaders, because they are not) want to turn about half of the U.S. population into sick, desperate people who will die as young as folks did in the 1800s. before modern medicine, thereby reducing Social Security costs. I can't think of any other outcome of the current path.

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  8. Your post has just made me appreciate once more how wonderful our welfare state is across the pond. From age 60 all prescription drugs are free regardless of means and of course the NHS is still alive and kicking (despite staffing issues) guaranteeing free health care for all, although these days it is hard to find a dentist offering NHS treatment unless under 18. The problem is to persuade the electorate to stop voting in governments on the basis of promises to cut taxes and instead accept a 1% increase in income tax to help fund the service for the future.

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    1. The drive to continually cut taxes regardless of the long term effect seems to be a universal problem. America's health care system, infrastructure, educational system, child mortality rates, and other issues are all directly related to the idea that cutting taxes has no consequences.

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    2. Yes, but...

      For most of the issues named, no one has ever been able to show cause and effect for greater spending, let alone a correlation. Seems counter-intuitive but true. More per-student school spending doesn't link to better educational outcomes; NYC and Newark have astronomical expenditures. More anti-poverty spending doesn't reduce the poverty rate, even over 60 years. We spend twice as much per person on healthcare as any other country but achieve only so-so results. Etc. The real variable seems to be individual choices, which generally derive from the family and supporting culture, not from governmental programs: Pay attention, behave yourself, do your homework, and get your diploma; defer having children until you're an adult; watch what you eat and drink, take the stairs, turn off the TV. Sounds like a pretty reasonable standard but lots of people never get there, then blame the government.

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    3. I agree with some of what you say, Lydgate, but not allt. Our health care costs are sky high because our system is for profit, not for patient. That is a direct result of the political system that refuses to let Medicare negotiate lower drug prices, or allows companies to raise a drug price by 5000%, knowing insurance will pay most of it.

      In Arizona we have schools with roofs leaking, twenty year old text books, 35 kids in a classroom and no after school activities, all because of year after year cuts to the educational budget.

      The University systems have had tens of millions cut every year for the last 7 years, resulting in cancelled majors, larger classes, fewer lab supplies, and an increase in those who require 5 or 6 years to graduate because not enough required classes are available each semester. However, there is enough for new football stadiums or paying a winning coach $2.5 million a year.

      Individual choices don't go very far in such situations. We have to have the support systems in place to allow for individual actions.

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    4. Physicians are not reimbursed for preventive medicine-- education, counseling, nutritional interventions, etc. Insurance providers will not do so. Rather, they are paid to treat symptoms. They control blood glucose levels, and people still have diabetes. They put in stents, do bypass surgery and people still have coronary artery disease. You have arthritis, you get anti-inflammatory drugs. Nothing to treat the actual disease. Therein lies most of the cost of our "sick-care: system. People get worse and are guaranteed return customers, and Big Pharma laughs on the stroll to the bank.

      Rick in Oregon

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  9. I have a Medicare Supplement plan that covers everything part A and B does not cover. It started June 1st. I feel like I just stumbled across the finish line of a marathon. My "take home" retirement income just increased a little over 400 dollars a month (part of the cost of my pre-Medicare insurance). I feel blessed.

    For those waiting for Medicare, best wishes for good health in the meantime!

    Rick in Oregon

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    1. When all coverage finally kicks in you feel like you have won a lottery. Silly that are system is so messed up that this is the case, but it is. See Caree's comment above to realize how other developed nations treat their health care needs.

      My supplemental plan has increased in cost about 5% each year since I started it 3 years ago. But, that is just fine compared to what my wife still faces since she is under 65.

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    2. Bob, I've learned that, since the insurance companies can't compete on Plan coverage (they're identical by law), they compete on signup price, which is (again by law) locked in for the first year and then gradually increased as you age. But as long as you're healthy -- there's quite an extensive history questionnaire you have to complete -- you can switch providers and enjoy the new, lower rate. I'm 68, and I've done it twice already. Transamerica had bumped my rate up twice, and by switching, my monthly cost actually dropped below my original, age-65 figure. Ask your agent to prepare a proposal, apply for the lowest-cost plan, and see if you qualify. The worst that can happen is they reject the application and you hang onto your existing plan -- don't cancel that before you're accepted elsewhere!

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    3. Good information. I knew about switching but I was unaware there is a qualification process.

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  10. I just got onto Humana Gold Plus for my Medicare coverage in Az. I am suprised,pleasantly so! That I get free health club memberships, free eye exam, $200towards purchase of glasses or contacts,0 copay on the generic thyroid med I take (Only drug I have ever been on.) and more benefits than reuglar Medicare.My family doctor is a well respected one,i can use all the major hospitals in our area, and the specialist network is huge. We are light users of western medical care but I am glad to know I have better insurance than we have had, lately. We had to do $10,000 deductible back in our working days, to afford a private plan!! My total out of pocket max on Human is $3100.After I spend $3100 a year, they pick up 100%. All I pay is my Part B Medicare premium, nothing extra. Am enjoying water aerobics at the club down the street--free! Yoga! But our country is way far behind other enlightened countries who do a much better job for their citizens than we do.

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    1. So, you have a Medicare Advantage program. That is a strong choice for many because of the costs and extras that usually come with it.

      My only out of pocket on Traditional Medicare, Medigap, and Part D is for pills. I pay a much lower rate, like $! or $4 for most prescriptions because of Part D, but I don't spend nearly enough in a year to have them pick up the costs.

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  11. In addition to original Medicare, I have a supplement that includes drug coverage. This is through my deceased husband's employer. But I wonder if I'd be better off with an advantage program with lower cost.

    My SIL pays $0 a month..only copays and very low drug costs. She has Humana.
    I pay $155 a month, no copays and reasonable drug costs. $300 deductible.

    In trying to figure this out, it seems I have better coverage if I'm in a hospital or rehab for a long time than hers. But I'm not sure. It's hard for me to figure out. Thoughts?

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    1. The Medicare Advantage plans completely replace Medicare -- you actually leave the Federal system instead of supplementing it -- so the name is definitely confusing. Advantage is comparable to the HMO approach (are these still around in employer plans?): You trade a lower or no fee compared with Supplements for a restricted list of providers (GP's, specialists, and hospitals), which might be just fine if you're happy with these "in-network" options (and don't think you'll ever move out of the area). You'll also need to get a "gatekeeper" referral to any specialist in the network. Supplement plans let you go directly to any specialist who accepts Medicare, get second opinions, etc. If you had developed some rare disease, for instance, you could choose to go to the Mayo Clinic or Memorial Sloan Kettering and still be covered. If you made that move under an Advantage plan, it would be fully out of pocket for you, with not even the standard Medicare 80% coverage (since you're not in Medicare any longer). Personally, I think the Supplement approach is better because it preserves this element of choice, but I have friends (on Advantage) who are completely happy without that choice.

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    2. Your observations are important. I had a friend (Alan) recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. One of his friends had also been diagnosed at the same time (Pete). Alan had a Medicare supplemental and ended up at Loma Linda University in California for a non-surgical proton beam procedure. He emerged cancer free, normal PSA and no side effects. Pete, his friend had a Medicare Advantage plan, and was required to stay in his network where the only option was surgical removal. He is now incontinent. That story was enough for me.

      Physicians and hospitals like the Advantage plans because they do pay faster than the supplement programs. My physician put a lot of pressure on me to select Advantage. I know a lot of people are very happy with these programs, but I like to have options and a little more control over my healthcare.

      Please don't flame me if you like your Advantage plan. If it works for you, great! I just wanted to add my thought process on what is a big decision for many people.

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    3. Medicare Advantage programs are no good if you aren't in your home coverage area. So, if you travel anywhere you may be without coverage. Personally, I don't want to put decisions about my health back in the hands of a private company that can restrict the doctors I see and the facilities I can choose.

      That said, if the budget is tight, you don't plan on traveling, and you can live with the network choices of the Advantage program, you do get a bigger bang for your medical dollar than with the traditional approach.

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    4. Mary, while I cannot speak to your specific situation, I am a federal retiree geting retiree insurance. Every single advisor I spoke to said that my "retiree health insurance" was a better option than an advantage plan. I know for a fact that my retiree insurance drug program is MUCH better than part D. It sometimes takes a minute to make clear to new doctors, because they are so used to having the advantage plan be the primary. But once I explain that Medicare is the primary and medicare bills my inurance company, everything is fine. So before I changed I would talk to a free advisor and compare ALL the costs.

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    5. Many misconception is in these replies.Too many to answer! Most important one I researched thoroughly: You ARE covered if you are out of town! Emergencies are covered just as they are in state you live in. When stable, you do have to “come back home!” But regular office visits,for routine stuff,is not covered if you decide to spend 3 months. In New Jersey, for instance. (We don’t see medical doctors on a regular basis for anything. And we don’t leave town for months on end. If I got the flu while visiting New Jersey I’d probably just visit an urgent care, or better yet just rest and do fluids!!LOL!) Also,MEDICARE IS an HMO!!!! It Is a NETWORK. Not all doctors and hospitals take Medicare! The network with Humana includes more hospitals than regular Medicare doe at least in Maricopa County! The network is vast! Medicare restricts the doctors you see... to their network. Medicare pays 80%, The advantage plan pays 100% a lot of the time, I’m not advocating one or the other.I have a neighbor paying over 300 extra dollars a month for a Supplement in addition to her $130 a month Medicare.That’s a lot of bucks on fixed income. Just get an agent to explain it fully and compare for yourself. On hospitalizations, X-rays, surgeries,etc I only have a copay Not 20%. Travel is a big issue to some: you ARE covered for an emergency and hospitalization even out of town . When we travel internationally, we get an insurance policy to supplement our coverage,always,for the trip. Advantage plans are very confusing, as is Medicare.I hate to see people lose out because it seems complicated. A good agent can compare and show you the benefits, no obligation.In Maricopa County, ARIZONA it’s a good deal..the networks are huge.In Gila or other counties:Not enough doctors or hospitals.However, there are few MEDICARE doctors too!! In Pine the selection of Medicare or advantage docs or hospitals is pathetic. Health insurance in America SURELY could use some help! It’s very confusing, and as a result Seniors often pay more than should.

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    6. There are many options and it can be confusing. But I heard another story that made me lean toward a supplement.

      A couple opted for an Advantage Plan that had a very low or no (can't remember) premium and co-pays that ranged from 20-25%, with a maximum out of pocket per year of 5,000 dollars. The wife came down with breast cancer and had to have surgery and chemo..... in December. They quickly hit their out of pocket maximum and had to pay 5000 dollars (20%) for the treatment. January 1st rolls around and she has to start another round of chemo at a cost of 25,000 dollars... which means they are on the hook for 20%... another 5,000.

      Point being that it is a roll of the dice, and you need to understand whatever plan you select and make sure you run several "what if" scenarios and know what you might face in terms of financial obligations. As long as you can meet them you are okay. Health care costs can add up fast!

      Rick in Oregon

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    7. I have never found a doctor, clinic, or hospital that won't take Medicare. I would disagree with Madeline that Medicare is an HMO. I don't need referrals to see anyone at any time. An HMO does require referrals. But, I agree with her that all bets are off in rural areas, regardless of what type of plan you choose. There just aren't enough doctors willing to put up with the lower pay and less well-equipped facilities.

      Medical Advantage programs do cover emergency care out of your home coverage area. But, if you are in New Jersey and get the flu and want some help, I doubt that would qualify for emergency coverage. If you are on a two month RV trip and need care, I think you are running a risk hoping to find people your insurer will accept for routine, non-emergency care but I don't know for sure.

      Bottom line: for some people Medicare with supplements is best. For others, the costs and added services make Medicare Advantage better. Do your homework and check all contingencies before making a decision. You can change your mind, but only once a year.

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  12. Reading all of these comments has made my head spin, and makes me realize how fortunate we have been to have been covered by the government for all these years, both while my husband was on activity duty and after retirement. The segue to Medicare was easy for both of us, and without having to do anything our Tricare insurance changed to Tricare For Life - it covers *everything* Medicare doesn't. So other than meeting our annual deductible ($300/family per year), and paying an extremely small co-pay for medication, we have pay nothing out of pocket other than for glasses and Brett's hearing aids. Total out-of-pocket expenses for medical treatment cannot exceed $3000 per person. We also have excellent, low-cost dental insurance negotiated by the government, and both it and our medical insurance cover us world-wide (Tricare becomes our primary insurance outside of the U.S.). Other than when Brett was on active duty, we have been able to choose our own doctors, specialists, etc.

    It frankly makes me furious though that similar insurance is not available to EVERYONE in the U.S. Saying our system is a mess is an insult to messes. The government negotiates for the lowest drug prices, and costs for other services for military healthcare, and they could be doing this for everyone if they wanted. Anyone who claims they don't want "socialized medicine" has no idea what they are missing, seriously.

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    1. In a sense Medicare is 'socialized" medicine. After the age of 65 you can't buy an individual policy. If you don't have something like you do through the government or a former employer, your only choice is Medicare (or one of versions debated above).

      You contribute to it as a deduction from your paycheck your entire working life. It doesn't get more socialized than that, and I don't know anyone who doesn't love having Medicare or an Advantage program.

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    2. But until someone is eligible for Medicare they usually have no idea or don't give the idea of socialized medicine much thought, or consider it a great evil, and I can't tell you how many people I have known that begin Medicare kicking and screaming about having to use it, nevermind that they contributed toward it their entire working life. Of course, after a few months or so they love Medicare and can't imagine being without it, never stopping to wonder why there wasn't a similar option before as there is in so many other countries.

      I am also amazed by all the different supplemental plans that seem to be available (based on comments above), and the wide range of costs and services one has to wade through before deciding which one to purchase (I admit to not having a clue what an Advantage program is), whether prescriptions are covered or not, and so forth. It still seems amazingly clunky to me, and a drain. Medicine by profit still rules.

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    3. Yes, I love Medicare and have no problem with it being "socialized" medicine and in fact, wish our country was like Europe with single payer, mostly free health care. And yes, I'll gladly pay more taxes for this benefit for all and to remove the fear of running out of money due to high medical costs here.
      But I'm still confused a bit. My SIL has the advantage plan in Fla and hers is a ppo, so she can chose her doctors, at least locally. Hers is free with copays and my original Medicare with a medigap (supplemental) costs $155 a month, $300 deductible and no copays. So what is my advantage here, if any? Is it better longer term free hospitalization? Rehab length of time free etc. ?

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    4. The $155 is in addition to the $113? A month for medicare

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  13. In Florida, the SHINE program (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) helps people understand their medical needs and which Medicare policy is best for them. Check with your state's Elder Services to see if they have a similar program.

    My parents have Medicare and Tricare. My mother was just in the hospital for low sodium levels. The doctor sent a prescription to Walmart. When I went to pick it up, I was told that Tricare did not cover the costs which would be $4.23. I told them that was fine. I wandered around the store for 30 minutes and returned to pick up the medication. I was again told that insurance didn't cover the cost and they hadn't filled the prescription. The girl didn't remember talking to me previously. The assistant came to talk with me and stated they didn't have the brand that cost $4, instead it would be $77. They could order the cheaper one if I was willing to wait a few days. I asked for the prescription to be returned and was directed to another person who stated she couldn't give it to me as it was an e-prescription. Attempted to call the Doctor 230 pm to get a written prescription and wad told there was no one left in the office to write it.
    Mama had lab work prior to going in the hospital and was called and told to go the the emergency room. They repeated the exact same test that had been done in the doctors office and after 3 hours she was admitted. Her Doctor did not have admitting privileges to our hospital thus the added costs of an emergency room. Our medical system is a complete mess.

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    1. Yes because it's all about greed and money and unfortunately, that is not going to change

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  14. To me, as a Canadian, your medical system seems completely unreasonable. I can’t understand why the majority continues to support such an expensive, convoluted, and inhumane system.

    While I can see that some Americans personally feel that they have no choice but to live in other countries as expats in order to take advantage of those countries’ medical care, it seems wrong that one of the richest countries in the world can’t look after its citizens. Also, is it fair for Americans to take advantage of universal health care abroad that taxpayers in those other countries have paid for throughout their working lives via taxes?

    That said, I do realize that there is tremendous medical expertise in the USA, and that people from other countries like Canada do sometimes travel there for leading-edge specialist treatment. Perhaps your for-profit system helps to create an environment where high levels of expertise can develop, but only, it appears, at the expense of the masses.

    Jude

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    1. Also, the current administration is doing all they can to weaken and even cripple Obamacare....with absolutely nothing to replace it. I would understand if there was a replacement plan, fully formed and ready to go, but there is nothing. in 2019 we could easily be back to 40 million without medical insurance before the ACA.

      Yes, the technology is probably the best the world. But, if is unavailable to so many, what good is it?

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  15. The high levels of expertise in America are only for the wealthier, not the regular person. 40% support trump even though most are unlikely to benefit from this expertise and will pay much higher medical costs than Europe and Canada, all due to their priorities. They are more concerned with minorities immigrating here, putting religion into the rules of law and dismantling environmental protections so a profit can be made. You reap what you sow.

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