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ON HOLD - DRAFT COMPLETE//Senior Insurance Can Play a Role in Securing Your Financial Future

Learn about the importance and benefits of senior insurance for your continued financial security.

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5 min read
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Key Takeaways

  • Planning for retirement includes preparing for unexpected health-related costs
  • Medicare can help seniors pay for healthcare costs like doctor visits

  • Other insurance choices for seniors include long-term care insurance and life insurance

No matter how carefully you plan for retirement, you’ll always have financial decisions to make when you transition to your golden years.

One of the more important financial decisions that most investors will face is how to prepare for medical expenses and other health-related costs for themselves and family members. That’s especially important as seniors are increasingly living longer, with men now living to an average age of 84.6 and women to 86.4, according to the Social Security Administration. Medicare is the primary way to cover your medical expenses as a senior, but there are other senior insurance options to consider as well.

Even when you’re buying Medicare policies, you will likely have to make several comparisons to determine which one fits your needs. It’s important to understand what each policy covers so you can meet all your costs.

Who’s Eligible for Medicare?

To be eligible for Medicare, generally you must be age 65 or older and you must be eligible for Social Security. Younger people with disabilities may also qualify for Medicare.

If you’re over age 65 and you or your spouse worked more than 10 years paying Medicare taxes, then you’re eligible for Medicare Part A without having to pay a premium. You can use Medicare.gov’s calculator to determine when you may be eligible for benefits and what your premium might be.

What Exactly Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare has two main parts. Part A generally covers costs like surgery, hospice stays, some stays in nursing facilities, and hospital stays. Part B covers things like doctor visits, outpatient care, and some preventive care as well as medical supplies and equipment.

Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, can work in lieu of Parts A and B. For expenses not covered in general by Part A and Part B, you can consider Medicare Supplement Insurance. Some Medicare plans cover prescription drugs, known as Medicare Part D, or they may provide dental, hearing and vision benefits.

How Do You Find the Right Medicare Plan?

Medicare is available through insurance exchanges like SelectQuote Insurance. Purchasing senior insurance like Medicare can be confusing, but you can turn to professional agents to help you find the plan that fits your needs.

Agents can explain the differences among various Medicare plans and what they cover. Through SelectQuote, you can receive free quotes with no obligation to enroll.

Beyond Medicare: Other Senior Insurance

While Medicare offers a number of benefits, some gaps may still exist in your health care coverage. It’s important to consider all your insurance choices when you plan for retirement.

A long-term care policy is another way to help pay for costs not covered by Medicare, and this cost can be significant. Seven out of 10 people will require long-term care at some point in their lives, according to Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Considering that the average cost of a year in an assisted living facility is $36,000, and more than $89,000 for a semi-private room in a nursing facility, paying for long-term care services can require careful advanced planning.

Seniors and anyone planning to care for a senior can turn to long-term care insurance to help meet unexpected costs. This kind of insurance policy can pay for those things that aren’t covered by Medicare, such as nursing home costs, assisted living or in-home care. Your annual premium can vary depending on a number of factors and may increase over time.

If you are married, you can consider whether to get long-term care insurance for both of you, or to cover only one spouse. Some families choose to cover the female spouse, as women tend to outlive men and might need additional coverage for care and support.

How Accessible Is Senior Life Insurance?

Insurance choices for retirees go beyond policies related to health care. Life insurance can be an important part of a financial plan, offering the peace of mind of knowing you and your family will be supported.

Life insurance can be important at any age, but it often becomes a top priority for seniors. The prices and terms for life insurance do change as you age, but seniors still have an array of choice in policies that might fit their needs. People over age 65 can get either term life insurance or whole (permanent) life insurance that can help their families cover funeral costs or living expenses. Term life insurance generally becomes more difficult to get as you age.

Whole life insurance usually costs more and offers additional benefits. It lasts for your whole life and acts as a sort of account that grows in value over time. In contrast, term life insurance provides coverage only for a specified time, and is generally more affordable. Usually, the payout benefit stays the same with term life policies, and grows with whole life policies.

You can review your senior life insurance options with a financial professional, who can help you find a policy that can fit with your budget and financial needs.

The Best Time to Start Planning

The bottom line is that it’s never too early to start preparing for how you will address medical expenses in your senior years. While securing Medicare coverage is a good start for many people, you may want to look into making sure you can pay for things that Medicare doesn’t cover.

No matter what senior insurance policy you plan to purchase, make sure you fully understand how much it costs, what it covers, and how you can access it.

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Key Takeaways

  • Planning for retirement includes preparing for unexpected health-related costs
  • Medicare can help seniors pay for healthcare costs like doctor visits

  • Other insurance choices for seniors include long-term care insurance and life insurance

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