Medicare, sometimes abbreviated MCR, is the primary source of health insurance for older adults in the United States. The program is very complex, though, and even the people who are eligible for it seldom know some of the most crucial facts about it. As an insurance agent, it is your job to be aware of common areas of confusion and to give your clients and prospects the information they need so that they can make good decisions about shopping for additional insurance. There are at least five concepts you might want to discuss with your older clients.
Types of Medicare
Many people don’t understand the many different types of MCR, and as their agent, it will be up to you to explain them. MCR A, for instance, referred to as “hospital insurance,” helps cover the cost of hospitalizations, rehabilitation following an accident, injury, or hospice care. It does not cover routine doctor’s visits. MCR B helps to cover the cost of care delivered outside of an institutional setting. MCR C refers to a MRC advantage plan people may select instead of traditional MCR benefits, and MCR D helps pay for the cost of prescription drugs.
Medicare Does Not Cover the Cost of All Care
People who are treated in the hospital, for instance, will be asked to pay a $1,156 deductible, even if they have MCR A. They will also be responsible for paying $289 per day if the hospital stay lasts more than 60 days and $578 per day after the 90th day. These expenses can devastate families, yet most people do not know anything about them until they start getting bills after a hospital stay.
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Know Your Medigap Policies
Medigap covers the “gaps” in standard MCR policies. Medigap insurance may, for instance, cover the deductible for hospitalization or reduce or eliminate the co-pay for MCR B services. There are many different kinds of Medigap policies as well as unique policies offered by a few different states. Be sure to know which policies your agency offers and the pros and cons of each.
MCR and Long Term Care
Many people are surprised to find out that, while MCR will pay for a brief period of rehab in a nursing home, it does not pay for long term care in a nursing facility. Most families pay for long term care from their own assets, and when that money is gone, they receive assistance from the state. You may be able to help your clients protect their assets by suggesting a long term care insurance policy.
MCR and Funerals
MCR does not pay for the cost of a funeral, although social security may chip in a small amount. As an agent, you can help your client select a life insurance policy that will cover his or her final expenses.
Health insurance becomes much more complicated for those who are eligible for MCR. It’s important that you know the facts and use them to help your clients and prospects make good decisions.