For seniors age 65 and older who qualify for Medicare will typically find that this type of health insurance can provide them with the support and assistance they need to enjoy affordable and reliable healthcare. Seniors can start applying for Medicare three months before their 65th birthday, and many times, the earlier you apply, the better off your benefits will be. With an estimated 55 million Americans using the Medicare program, it is no secret that this benefit has become one of the main ways seniors today stay healthy while controlling their medical costs.
Since Medicare first found its way to the American market in 1966, this form of health insurance has been helping millions every year with their healthcare needs. There are a number of rules and restrictions that govern Medicare in order to ensure the sustainability of this program, with some features being far more helpful for seniors than others.
What is most surprising about Medicare in today's world is that there are actually a number of underutilized benefits that come with this health insurance coverage. Senior care can be rather complex and include medications, procedures, hospital stays and therapies, just to name a few. Yet, many worry about how they are going to pay for things like assisted living, medical equipment or in-home care. There are so many seniors today who are surprisingly unaware of some of the things that Medicare may pay for. Here are five of the most surprising things that Medicare sometimes covers that could make life much easier for seniors today.
Home Health Care
There are so many seniors today who turn to home health care as a way to get the support and the assistance that they need to live safely and comfortably in their own homes. There are all different types of home health care services out there today and many seniors don't think that their situation may apply to the Medicare-covered home health insurance.
There are so many families today that worry about how to pay for home health care. However, Medicare created a home health care benefit for those who could receive more cost-effective care outside of nursing homes and hospitals. Medicare may cover more home health care costs than people think. Plus, this type of home care comes with no copay.
Another surprising fact about Medicare's home health care benefits is that seniors do not have to have a hospital stay in order to qualify. There are so many people who assume that just because they haven't been in the hospital, Medicare won't cover their home care needs. Seniors do still need to be deemed "homebound" and have a declaration from a doctor indicating their condition requires at home care, but they don't have to be in a hospital first to qualify.
Medicare Part B actually covers "durable medical equipment" for seniors who need it. This means older adults who may need a little extra help getting around can often get the assistance they need without paying an arm and a leg. This includes: walkers, wheelchairs, hospital beds, canes, crutches, oxygen tanks and equipment and blood glucose monitors among other things. Typically, Medicare pays for 80% of the approved cost of these devices, once seniors have met the Part B deductible. This is something that can save the average senior thousands in medical costs.
One very surprising piece of equipment that is typically covered, partially, by Medicare is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy equipment. This machine helps seniors who are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea to breath and sleep better through the night.
Wellness Care Visits
As more and more seniors are working hard to take care of themselves as they age, more and more seniors aren't requiring much healthcare. However, this doesn't mean that they still shouldn't be visiting the doctor. Medicare actually covers free wellness doctor's office visits every 12 months, meaning seniors don't have to pay anything out-of-pocket when they want to make a trip to the doctor to get everything checked out.
Preventative care is a great way for seniors who feel fine and live very active and healthy lives to make sure nothing undetected is going on with their health. As for seniors who smoke, they can actually take advantage of smoking cessation counseling to help them quit, even if they have not yet been diagnosed with a tobacco-related illness.
Chiropractic Care and Physical Therapy
There are so many seniors today that visit a chiropractor regularly to help them maintain good overall health and relieve the aches and pains that come with aging. Chiropractic care has become a major part of the overall wellness plans for many seniors today and those who have Medicare Part B can have their chiropractic care costs covered. Chiropractic care treats subluxations of the spine, and seniors with Medicare don't need an x-ray to prove they have this type of subluxation in order for Medicare to cover their costs. There are also plans known as Medicare Advantage Plans that can provide additional chiropractic care benefits to those who see their chiropractor more frequently.
Seniors who need physical therapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy will also find that Medicare can cover many of their expenses. Medicare has yearly limits for how often seniors can visit these outpatient providers, but typically a standard number of appointments is completely covered.
Prosthetics can be a very costly expense, especially for today's seniors. Yet, there are so many seniors who find themselves in need of prosthetics. Artificial limbs and eyes are actually covered by Medicare when they are ordered by a doctor. Seniors who need both external breast prostheses, such as a post-surgical bra following a mastectomy and implanted breasts following a mastectomy may find that their Medicare coverage pays for these prosthetics.
While these benefits may not apply for every single situation, as there are still many rules that govern what is and what isn't covered, seniors can still try to see if Medicare will step in. Older adults who keep these five surprising things in mind when it comes to their Medicare coverage, may just get the financial support they need to make life much easier for themselves and their family.