Blinded by the Bills? 7 Unexpected Health Care Costs in Retirement (and Planning for Them)

Retirement should be a time when you can finally relax and enjoy life. But healthcare costs can be stressful if they exceed your budget.

TD Bank breaks down seven common and unexpected health care expenses in retirement that you may not have considered. With careful planning, payments and services outside the insurance do not have to come as a surprise.

Perhaps the most important information you need to know can be found at medicare.gov, the website of the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older. In addition, you can prepare yourself financially so that your retirement years can be truly golden.

Over-the-counter supplements

Many doctors now routinely recommend taking over-the-counter supplements to help with certain problems. Although Medicare Part B may pay for supplements in some cases, only certain ones are covered. A diagnosis of a specific disease is also necessary. If your doctor recommends supplements as part of your treatment plan or for general wellness, you may have to pay for them yourself.

Vision care

It is normal to experience vision changes with age, and everyone 65 and older is recommended to have an eye exam at least every two years. While Medicare Part B may cover eye exams for certain eye-related diseases and injuries, routine eye exams are not covered. Prescription glasses and contact lenses are also not covered. If you need corrective lenses, you can purchase vision insurance to help you with this expense.

Dental visits

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is not just about a beautiful smile. Poor dental health can lead to many medical problems such as heart disease, pneumonia, endocarditis and more.

Regular dental checkups and cleanings are recommended every six months. Unfortunately, these dental visits and any dental repairs you may need are not covered by Medicare. Dental insurance can be purchased to cover some or all of these services.

Therapy services

Nursing services are sometimes necessary for people to fully recover from an injury or illness. Physiotherapy or occupational therapy may be needed, for example, after recovering from a fall. And speech therapy is often used to help with stroke recovery. If you need care services and they are deemed medically necessary, you may have a 20% deductible if you have already met your Medicare Part B deductible.

Doctor’s visits

In your retirement, you may visit the doctor more often than when you were younger. In addition to visiting the primary care provider, you can be referred to additional consultations and treatments by specialists.

Medicare Part B typically covers 80% of doctor visits after you meet your deductible. However, deductible costs can increase quickly if follow-up appointments are needed. You can purchase Medigap supplemental insurance to help you pay for doctor visits and other health-related expenses in retirement.

Prescription drugs

The cost of monthly prescription drugs can be a large expense without coverage. Although Medicare Parts A and B do not cover prescription drugs, a prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D) can be added for a monthly premium. Prescriptions purchased through Medicare Part D require deductibles and co-pays.

Medical supplies

Medicare Part B may cover certain medically necessary supplies and equipment used at home, including:

  • Wheelchairs
  • Hospital beds
  • Oxygen equipment
  • Blood glucose meters and test strips
  • Other equipment

However, additional costs may arise from accessories used to increase comfort or convenience, such as humidifiers, stair lifts and grab bars. And don’t forget that common medical supplies like bandages and gauze are not covered by Medicare.

This story has produced TD Bank and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.

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