Livens & Reed, PLLC

Important Medicare answers for long-term care planning

More senior Americans rely on Medicare for medical coverage when they retire, but it can be a difficult and complicated program. Gaining a better understanding of how the Medicare works will make it easier to integrate the program into long\-term care planning. In Texas and other states, individuals can apply for Medicare benefits when they reach the age of 65, although, some may be younger depending on certain disabilities or diseases. The benefits' costs are determined by the time worked and the payroll contributions made over one's lifetime.

Medicare is broken down into four separate parts. Inpatient hospital care is covered by Part A and is free to seniors and spouses who have worked a minimum of 10 years and paid into the program through payroll deductions. Doctors' visits and other outpatient services are listed as Part B; however, it can be costly and may include additional preventive procedures that are medically necessary. Part C is a Medicare Advantage plan that works with private health insurance and adds additional coverage. Part D is prescription drug coverage and has multiple plans and costs depending on the client's needs.

Many seniors find it hard to understand that Medicare does not pay 100 percent of costs for any covered services, and there are many related expenses that it does not cover at all. By combining Medicare with a supplemental policy and long-term care insurance, seniors can avoid out-of-pocket costs. There may have upfront deductibles with additional co-payments for services in an approved medical facility, and long-term care that is not medically necessary may not be covered at all.

Long-term care planning does not have to be a daunting experience. With knowledge and understanding of the programs available, seniors can get answers to help them determine the right coverage. In Texas, those who have questions regarding long-term care and Medicare planning may benefit from speaking with an attorney who has vast experience working with seniors to plan their retirement and future health-care needs.

Source:, "9 Frequently Asked Medicare Questions -- The Motley Fool", Dan Caplinger, March 2, 2018

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