Medicare is an amazing benefit for anyone over 65, but it can be hard to take full advantage without the right knowledge. Fortunately, there are about 6,000 things that might help! The average traditional beneficiary spent $6,150 out-of pocket on Medicare and Medigap premiums in 2013 according to Kaiser Family Foundation – which looks even larger when you consider half of all beneficiaries have an annual income under $26,200.
We’re going to break down 4 ways to take full advantage of Medicare and reduce how much you have to come out of pocket.
1. Take Advantage of the Freebies
Medicare beneficiaries don’t know that there are a whole list of things they can get for free. These include screenings to help you quit smoking and depression, flu vaccines as well as pneumonia shot. You’re also eligible for a free preventative “Welcome to Medicare” visit in the first 12 months your on Part B with no co-payments involved which includes completion from an advance directive if needed by them or simply just having their advice about what will happen at death’s door when it comes time
To see a list of preventative services: Official Medicare Preventative Services
2. Select the Correct Medicare Provider
Medicare patients need to know if the doctor accepts assignment in order to not be billed for more than their deductible and co-insurance. Most doctors treating Medicare clients will accept it, but there are some who don’t fall under this category–nonparticipating or “opt out” providers as they’re called on private contracts with patients where prices can vary depending upon what’s being treated and how much time has passed since last treatment
3. Get a Discount on Your Prescriptions
If you have Medicare Advantage plan, make sure that the doctors in your network are always available for service. You’ll end up paying more if they’re out-of-network providers– but it could save money on expensive copays and deductibles!
Even with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, out-of pocket costs can be eye opening – in part because the program doesn’t put a cap on how much you’ll spend.
Forgetting your Part D plan can save you money, especially if paying cash is more affordable. The downside? You won’t get any coverage for prescription drugs and it’ll continue costing a few dollars every time you fill one out-of-pocket instead of counting towards that deductible which many people end up biting into eventually anyway due to high costs across all sectors of life (a problem known as “umped” or excess utilization).
The use of your Medicare Part D plan will generally save you money if you stick with the list of “preferred” pharmacies.
4. See If You Qualify for Medicare Savings Programs
Medicare savings programs are a great way for seniors on limited incomes to save money and still have access to quality healthcare. The benefits of these initiatives include helping pay your Part B premiums as well as deductibles, co-payments or other out-of pocket costs that you may face related with Medicare prescription drug coverage
But be aware some states offer different eligibility requirements include all your asset rather than just being determined by income.
State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAPs) are a great way to save money on your medication. In some cases, the income limits can be higher than you would think! For instance New York’s program accepts seniors with an annual household income up $75,000 if single or 100,000 if married
You can see if you qualify a benefitscheckup.org