Open enrollment began November 1, 2017 for health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act. On October 15, open enrollment began for Medicare recipients. For many seniors, Medicare enrollment is a complex process that does not always cover all medical bills and expenses. As a result, some seniors are left with thousands of dollars in medical debt. Here are some ways seniors can stay one step ahead and avoid medical debt:
Set savings aside to cover unexpected medical expenses. A recent analysis found couples may need as much as $350,000 for medical bills post retirement. Factor this amount in when saving for retirement.
Understand Medicare options and costs. Remember to sign up for Medicare at the right time. Most people are eligible to enroll in Medicare beginning three months before their 65th birthday. Enrollment continues until three months after they turn 65. You can choose standard Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. The second option offers lower out-of-pocket costs, but a higher monthly premium, for coverage through an HMO or PPO.
Gather all personal information and keep it organized. Have this information readily available so a loved one or caregiver can help manage your healthcare if you are hospitalized or unable to do so. This should include a daily list of medications, medical providers, your medical history and medical and legal documents such as advance medical directive and a will. Here is a checklist to help manage your personal medical information.
Review medical bills carefully. A recent study found that 49 percent of Medicare medical bills contain errors or unnecessary charges. When you receive a bill for a procedure, hospitalization or nursing care, take time to review it for accuracy. If you received only a total due, request an itemized list of services provided.
Avoid putting medical expenses on a credit card. More than half of adults over the age of 50 put medical bills on their credit cards, according to a recent survey by AARP. Request an affordable payment plan from your medical provider.
Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.