The Limits of Medicare Coverage

Published on: Nov 28 2016

One of the biggest mistakes people make in retirement is not knowing the limits of Medicare coverage. Many people enter retirement believing that Medicare covers all or most of your medical expenses. This article goes into some detail about the out-of-pocket costs typical Medicare beneficiaries pay for cancer treatments. It’s based on a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University but doesn’t make news for anyone who’s studied Medicare and helped people plan for retirement.

The study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that Medicare beneficiaries without additional health coverage paid an average of $8,115 a year, or 23.7 percent of their incomes, on out-of-pocket costs after a cancer diagnosis. Some paid up to 63 percent of their incomes. Hospitalizations were the major factor for their high expenses, the researchers said.

Medicare beneficiaries with the lowest out-of-pocket costs also had coverage through Medicaid or the Veterans Health Administration. Their expenses were $2,116 and $2,367 a year, respectively. Seniors with additional coverage through employers had costs of almost $5,500, while those with private “Medigap” policies, which cover copays and deductibles not picked up by Medicare, had expenses of $5,670.

Beneficiaries in private Medicare plans — part of Medicare Advantage, which one-third of beneficiaries now choose — had costs of almost $6,000.

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