Use Your Medicare Advantage Part-B Giveback to Have Total Protection: 2 Tips for Complete Coverage
Many of you have been seeing commercials offering Part-B premium reduction or elimination. There are two ways you can get your money back in your Social Security check: qualifying for a Medicare Savings Program (MSP) or a Part-B premium giveback offered by your plan. This allows those who don’t qualify for an MSP an alternative way to get some relief. But now that you got that money back, which you didn’t expect, use some of it to get total protection with these two tips.
Two things are a certainty for the majority of Medicare beneficiaries: they will one day be hospitalized and eventually, everyone dies. That is the one statistic that has only been thwarted by three people in history: Enoch, Elijah and Jesus – but that’s a discussion for another article.
When you are hospitalized, a benefit period is triggered. A benefit period is a 60-day timeframe starting with day one in the hospital. Why is this important? Each benefit period has a copay that will vary from plan to plan. It could be a daily charge for the first 3 to 6 days, ranging from $20 to $395 per day. On average, about $250 per day. Or it could be a flat copay, like $500 or more per stay, depending on your plan.
This is charged once during a benefit period, as you can be hospitalized more than once per period. If you are re-hospitalized for the same illness within 60 days, you won’t have to pay this copay again. However, if you’re hospitalized for something different, that’s considered a new benefit period, and you will have to pay again.
If you’re like my mom, who one year was hospitalized three times and had to pay the copay twice, it can become pretty costly. One way to avoid this cost is by having hospital indemnity insurance.
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Hospital indemnity insurance pays you a certain amount of money, which you choose, per number of days you choose, when you are hospitalized. For example, if you choose $300 for up to 6 days and were hospitalized for 6 days, you would receive $1,800 paid directly to you to use as you wish. You can pay your hospitalization copay and save the rest.
If your insurance copay were $250 for the first 4 days, since you were hospitalized for 6 days, you would still receive $1,800. You see, the insurance is not dependent on whatever your insurance copay is. In this instance, your copay is $1,000; your hospital indemnity check is still $1,800.
While hospital indemnity insurance premiums vary based on age, it’s pennies on the dollar considered to your inpatient hospital copay (you’d be surprised how much it does NOT cost). Typically, one instance would not only pay for itself, but provide a profit. Two instances and you can see the great value this coverage brings.
The other is Final Expense insurance. This coverage provides money for your funeral and burial. Many people who’ve not purchased life insurance in the past, like to use this to leave their spouse or loved one something upon their demise.
A good example is a couple who lives off of Social Security. They receive two checks and are living within their means. Suddenly, one dies, and the surviving partner has to contend with a 1/3 cut in benefits, as Social Security will provide the larger of the two checks to the surviving spouse. Other than cutting maybe one cellphone bill, a little food and maybe a little less gas for a second car, expenses remain the same. Have some funds to help pay bills while they adjust to their new normal makes a huge difference during a very difficult time.
Depending on the carrier, you can purchase a policy with as little as $5,000 face value, or as high as $75,000. Many carriers only go as high as $50,000. With the average funeral costing $7,000, it can leave some transition money for those left behind.
Therefore, solidify your benefits. Makes sure an unexpected hospitalization doesn’t put you in a financial bind and prepare for the eventuality when your spouse or partner no longer has you around. While the time will be emotionally challenging, it doesn’t have to be financially challenging as well.