Seniors: Here's how to plan for a healthy retirement
Medicare advice and other options for seniors
Many people wait until retirement age to start planning for healthcare coverage. This is a mistake. You've spent your whole life setting an alarm, planning your days around work, and then going to bed so you can do the same thing the next day. The last thing you want to do is more work when it comes time to retire, but the benefits of planning ahead are too great to ignore. Medicare seems to be the only available option to many, so taking the time to research other possibilities doesn't cross their minds. The truth is that there are quire a few possibilities for you.
The insurance shift
If your current employer provides insurance benefits, you must be prepared to lose them when you retire. A very small number of companies provide insurance after retirement, but looking to Suntrust's recent announcement suggests that most companies will follow their lead and stop providing this benefit. What does this mean for you? It means you'll probably need to have something in place before you retire so you don't spend any amount of time without some form of healthcare coverage.
More than 55 million Americans receive Medicare benefits. You can apply for Medicare benefits online, here. This government program provides coverage to almost any American aged 65 and over and many with disabilities. The biggest misconception is that Medicare will cover any and all health care expenses for retirees. If you're a believer, you could end up in serious financial trouble. You will most certainly have out-of-pocket expenses when health care is needed, so be prepared when making your retirement plans.
With all of it's components, understanding Medicare can be quite a challenge. Part A is for hospital care, Part B for doctor visits, Part C is a way to combine several parts of Medicare into one plan, and Part D covers medication. With proper guidance, you can come up with a Medicare plan that will give you the coverage you need during your golden years.
Health Savings Accounts
A Health Savings Account, or HSA, is the perfect choice for people who plan early for retirement. This program allows you to save money just as you would in a personal savings account, but those funds can only be used for medical expenses. Because the account is yours, you control the money. It isn't taxed and you can even use it for investments in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. There are a few requirements and drawbacks, so be sure you understand these before you open your account.
First, you must have a HSA eligible insurance plan to pair with your HSA. This is for any catastrophes that might require extended or expensive medical attention. Without this insurance, your HSA will be of no use to you. Similarly, your Health Savings Account will be less useful if you start it too late in life. Without the time to save for your retirement years, you can't possibly build up enough funds to protect you or your family. Also, those nearing retirement are more likely to need frequent medical care, which would mean spending the funds in your health savings account faster than you could save it.
Everyone has a unique situation and that means one particular choice won't work for the masses. Being informed of all your options allows you to determine the perfect retirement plan for you so you can rest easy knowing you're covered.
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