The Medicare program is not something that pays for all health care needs in full without the senior having to pay any out-of-pocket costs. The fact is that there are deductibles, co-payments, and premiums, and they consistently rise over the years.
In addition, with all the talk about reducing the federal deficit it would not be surprising to see these out-of-pocket expenses go up at an even faster rate in the coming years.
A very difficult situation is brewing. There are thousands upon thousands of senior citizens becoming eligible for Social Security and Medicare weekly because the baby boom generation is reaching retirement age.
The majority of people who receive Social Security say that it is their primary sources of income. A significant percentage say that it is their only source of income.
But when your income stays more or less the same and prices around you rise you are faced with a challenge.
In 2011 and 2010 there were no increases in Social Security benefits to account for inflation. In 2012 a 3.6% cost-of-living adjustment was granted, and in 2013 the COLA is 1.7%.
However, Medicare costs are also higher in 2013 with the Medicare Part A deductible rising to $1184 and the Part B deductible going up to $147.
Medicare Part B is the portion of the program that covers outpatient services and visits to physicians. You have to pay a monthly premium to receive this coverage, and that went up for 2013. Co-payments for long-term hospital stays are also increasing.
The key to being able to absorb higher costs is to plan ahead intelligently so that you are not overly reliant on Social Security when you do in fact retire. Planning now can make a significant difference in your lifestyle in future years.
The Potter Law Firm is an Estate Planning and Elder Law firm with offices in Ashland, Kentucky; northern Kentucky; and the Ballantyne area of Charlotte, North Carolina.
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