Every day, more than 10,000 people celebrate the fact that they finally get to sign up for the government program, Medicare.
But, according to research, the average couple retiring at the age of 65 or older will still need $280,000 to cover their healthcare and medical expenses.
Worse yet, this number is increasing every year.
Many eligible for Medicare go in thinking they’ll have cover for everything health related moving forward. Unfortunately, while Medicare is a program that most can’t wait to benefit from, it doesn’t cover everything.
To avoid any nasty surprises on your 65th birthday, here are 9 services Medicare doesn’t cover that you should know about.
1. Hearing Aids
As many people get older, their hearing deteriorates. Luckily for us all, new and improved devices are on the market. These amplify sounds in order for us to find it easier to communicate with loved ones and listen to television or the radio.
The bad news is, Medicare won’t pay for the exam required to get hearing aids, let alone the devices themselves. They may, however, cover a hearing exam if your doctor deems it necessary because of a specific disease or condition.
2. Vision Checks
That said, Medicare Part B may cover exams and tests for people with specific conditions. Some of these conditions include but are not limited to:
- People with a high risk of contracting glaucoma
- Those with diabetic retinopathy
- Age-related macular degeneration
The best way to find out if Medicare covers your treatment is to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.
3. Glasses and Contact Lenses
As well as not covering vision tests and exams, Medicare will not pay for the costs of corrective glasses and contact lenses. That said, Medicare Part A will cover one pair of glasses or contact lenses if you receive surgery such as cataract.
4. Routine Dental Care
You will also have to pay for any routine visits to the dentist. This includes fillings and trips to the hygienist. Medicare also won’t pay for dental devices and dentures.
If you go to the hospital because of an emergency, Medicare may pay for certain dental services. That said, you should check your plan before assuming that they will cover all these costs.
Advantage Medicare plans cover all Original Medicare procedures. In addition to this, some Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) will include routine vision and dental programs.
5. Foot Care
If you suffer from calluses or struggle to cut your nails, you will have to pay for a professional to help you. Medicare doesn’t cover routine foot care. However, if you suffer from a foot disease or injury, Medicare Part B may cover necessary treatments.
Other conditions Medicare Part B may cover include:
- Hammer toes
- Heel spurs
People with specific conditions who need foot exams may get support from Medicare, for example, diabetics.
6. Cosmetic Surgery
Medicare only covers cosmetic surgery due to an injury. That said, if you are a breast cancer survivor, for example, they may pay for a breast prosthesis.
On the other hand, if you’d like to change your appearance for aesthetic purposes, you will have to pay for the procedure yourself.
7. Care Outside the United States
The amount of support you receive from Medicare while abroad depends on your location. For example, if a foreign hospital is closer than a U.S. one, Medicare may lend a helping hand.
Typically, Medicare doesn’t cover you if you are outside of:
- The 50 states
- Puerto Rico
- United States Virgin Islands
- The District of Columbia
- American Samoa
- The Northern Mariana Islands
If you are traveling to Canada and the nearest hospital is Canadian, you may receive support from Medicare. This only applies if you are traveling between Alaska and the continental United States.
With this in mind, if you plan on taking a trip further afield, you need to pay for your own health insurance.
8. Personal Care and Comfort Items
While the life expectancy in the United States continues to decrease, more and more people still need home healthcare services every year. But, these are expensive and many don’t have the savings to pay for extra support as they get older.
Unfortunately, if you need help bathing and getting dressed, you will have to pay for someone to help you out of your own pocket. Medicare will not pay for home assistance. You also won’t receive support if you need someone to help you with your weekly shopping.
Additionally, Medicare will only pay for short-term stays at nursing facilities. For example, if you are coming out of a three or four-day stay in hospital.
After 20 days, you will have to cover your own costs. Not only this, the program will not pay for personal comfort items. These include items such as shampoo and toothbrushes, among others.
9. Prescription Medication
That said, there are some exceptions. If you have to receive prescription drugs during your stay in hospital, Part A Medicare will cover this. Also, if your doctor administers drugs during a visit, Medicare Part B would come into play. Examples would include chemotherapy or vaccines.
Learn About the Various Plans Before Making a Final Decision
Medicare is great if you do your research. Many people enroll with the mindset that they’ll be covered for everything. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and it can lead to some serious financial problems down the line.
If you want to enroll in Medicare, you need to understand the various plans available. You also need to choose between an original plan and an advantage plan as both cover different medical care. The plan you choose will depend on your budget, the amount of traveling you do, and the amount of care you need.
Most importantly, be sure to put some money aside for the future so that you can be comfortable during your later years of life.
Sarah Barnes is a freelance writer, marketing consultant, and above all, a digital nomad with a passion for all things travel, food, and health. She’s traveled to more than 50 countries and has worked with a variety of holistic nutritionists and health coaches along her way. She’s currently creating her own platform to help people manage their gastrointestinal problems through healthy yet yummy food.