As seniors continue the post-retirement financial planning process, the annual Medicare Trustees Report released at the end of July purports to show a dramatic increase in Medicare Part B premium costs – up to 52 percent in some instances. Moreover, the Trustees Report shows that Medicare Part B deductibles are also expected to rise – also up to 52 percent for some seniors. In sum, certain groups of Medicare Part B recipients could see a concurrent rise in both monthly premium and out-of-pocket expenses.
For those who are just beginning to plan for retirement and long-term care, understanding Medicare and its various components, as well as the role of Medicaid in long-term care planning, can be overwhelming. In general, Medicare is available for senior citizens who have paid into the program for a sufficient number of years during their employment history. The program works much like a private insurer, and is administered by private management companies. It consists of several parts, each assigned a letter, with each component covering a different segment of comprehensive healthcare.
Medicare Part B is an essential component of healthcare coverage that spans a wide variety of everyday services, including doctor visits and surgical procedures. What it does not cover, however, is long-term care services beyond 120 days.
For those in need of long-term care services, including round-the-clock skilled nursing services in a nursing home setting, it may be necessary to begin planning for eventual Medicaid eligibility. Medicaid, which covers the costs of a nursing home stay, is available for those who meet the financial requirements of enrollment. These requirements tend to change year to year, so it is important to meet with a reputable elder law attorney to keep current with the latest information.