Medicare is a system of social insurance that has been administered by the United States federal government since 1966. It currently uses about 30 private insurance companies to administer plans for those who are above the age of 65. Providing health insurance coverage for nearly 50 million Americans, it is a system that is much like Social Security where workers pay into the system before retirement and then qualify for benefits after they retire.
There are some advantages to the Medicare program, but there are some disadvantages to the system as well. Here is a look at some of the specific pros and cons of Medicare.
What Are the Pros of Medicare?
1. You don’t have to change doctors.
Enrolling into Medicare doesn’t mean that you have to change doctors. The classic form of this health insurance typically allows you to visit any doctor and health facility that accepts patients. Medicare Advantage gives people with broader coverage through provider networks.
2. It works with private health insurance.
There are a number of Medicare supplement plans, referred to as MediGap, that allows retirees to keep their costs lowers through the payment of out-of-pocket costs that occur in the different parts of Medicare. The cap on out-of-pocket expenses on some Medicare plans is $6,700, so having insurance covers those costs can help out a lot.
3. It works just like any other form of health insurance.
Medicare is just like the health insurance you are used to receiving from an employer or a self-employment plan. This means the process of checking-in, receiving services, and paying for care is very similar to what you’re already used to receiving if you are considering the switch.
What Are the Cons of Medicare?
1. The small costs can add up quickly.
Many people who are on Medicare happen to be on limited or restricted incomes, which means that small costs for them can add up quickly. This is especially true when it comes to the prescription drug benefits. Before enrolling in Medicare, evaluate what medications you have and what your end costs may be.
2. It doesn’t cover everything.
Medicare hasn’t been designed to meet every health need that someone may have. The classic version of Medicare doesn’t offer any prescription drug benefits at all. Medicare Part A and Part B both have separate deductibles that must be met and Part B services typically require a 20% coinsurance or private payment. It isn’t free universal health care like some think it is.
3. There are numerous deadlines that must be met.
Medicare members on the Advantage plan can change their plans once per year. Different life events may qualify for additional enrollment periods. Miss a deadline and you may not be able to get the coverage you really need for 12 months.
Medicare has been designed to help Americans who are retired or who have specific disabilities receive the health care they need. If you’re thinking about transitioning over to Medicare, then weigh these pros and cons so that you can make the right decision that works for you.