8 Ways Seniors Can Manage Their Medical Expenses

Andrew Hauser offers 8 tips for seniors who want to manage their medical expenses:

Plan savings to cover medical costs. “A recent analysis found couples might need $350,000 or more for medical bills after retirement. Check your progress with an online retirement calculator to see if you are on track. If you fall short, talk with a financial advisor about your options.”

Understand Medicare options and costs. “First, remember to sign up for Medicare at the right time. Most people are eligible to enroll in Medicare beginning three months before their 65th birthday. Enrollment continues until three months after they turn 65.”

Gather personal information in one place. “Make a list of information a loved one or other caregiver might need if you are hospitalized or unable to manage your own health for a period of time.”

Take advantage of apps. “If you are technologically savvy – like the 42 percent of seniors who own a smartphone – you can tap an app to track your medical data.”

Review bills carefully. “Studies have found that 49 percent of Medicare medical bills contain errors or overcharges.”

Avoid putting medical expenses on credit cards. “In a survey on credit card debt conducted by Demos with AARP, more than half of adults older than 50 had medical debt on their credit cards. Instead of charging medical bills, talk with your medical providers up front.”

Examine long-term care options. “Assisted living care averages more than $3,000 a month. Medicare or other health insurance may not cover these costs. To help, many people turn to long-term care insurance, but this, too, is a pricey option.”

Seek help if a limited income makes it hard to pay for health care. “Two programs can reduce health care costs for people who qualify because of a restricted income. States offer Medicare Savings Programs, which can help pay Part B premiums (about $134 per month for most people). The federal government’s Extra Help program offers less-expensive coverage for prescription medications (Part D). Find out if you qualify – or get other help – by visiting shiptacenter.org and selecting your state’s State Health Insurance Program (SHIP).”