Many of those over 65 who saved for retirement have retained greater economic flexibility than those hit by layoffs while still trying to amass savings. That makes seniors a very desirable market for several industries. In fact, senior marketing is the fastest growing marketing segment today.
In sharp contrast, one of the biggest marketing failures that can have seriously harmful complications for those over 65 surrounds Medicare. With multiple parts, two deductibles, partial coverage (only 80 percent) for doctors’ services, no coverage at times (such as when you travel outside of the U.S.) and no reconciliation when doctors charge above what Medicare will pay, Medicare is a maze of contradictions. How do seniors calculate and plan for their health care costs?
In truth, both people under and over age 65 find Medicare often to be obscure and some simply give up in confusion. It’s a sad comment on the “information age” that we haven’t explained Medicare’s coverage in a way that allows many seniors to estimate their expected health care costs and plan accordingly.
Medicare Supplement Plans Help to Translate Medicare’s Coverage
Private insurers marketing Medigap insurance must explain Medicare, at least in part, to show the need for their plans to protect seniors from all the health care charges that Medicare won’t cover. For many, private insurance companies discuss Medicare in ways that are more direct and more comprehensible to give seniors a better overall understanding of where the holes in Medicare’s coverage put them at risk. The risk is real because hefty doctor and hospital bills far too often devour retirement savings forcing seniors to reduce their standard of living. Health care costs may be the single biggest concern for many seniors because their need for health care grows as they age and because health care prices are spiraling out of control.
A Medicare Supplement Can Cut Seniors’ Medical Bills down to Size
With existing Medicare benefits in jeopardy (Medicare was extended beyond it’s predicted bust in just eight years), baby boomers and seniors are exploring alternatives, such as Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement plans.
In the face of the new health care laws, Advantage plans are beginning to lose their subsidies. It’s expected that these plans will become increasingly expensive with the decline of government subsidies. Medigap insurance, often called Medicare supplement insurance, is a viable alternative. With 10 different plans, each one fills the gaps in Medicare in a slightly different way so seniors are free to choose only the benefits they need without paying for any extras. Medigap plans cover Medicare’s Part A and Part B deductibles to make seeing the doctor and going to the hospital when you need more affordable. These plans can also cover Medicare’s co-pays and co-insurance charges, and certain plans expand Medicare’s coverage to services beyond Original Medicare, such as emergency medical care when you’re out of the country.
Confusion over Medicare Has Left Seniors Unprepared for Health Care Debt
Although millions are now enrolled in Medicare in order to pay for their health care needs, many remain unprotected simply due to a lack of understanding about the intricacies of the Medicare system. One of the biggest misunderstandings involves the Medicare “pre-approved” amount. Medicare only pays for 80 percent of a standardized amount for procedures. That doesn’t stop doctors from charging more; it just shifts the burden of payment onto the patient. Doctors can continue to charge their regular fee, Medicare can continue to pay its standard payment and it’s up to you to make those ends meet. Getting the right information is crucial to getting the most out of Medicare, and Medicare supplement insurance is one key to bridging the gaps in Medicare coverage.