What Medicare doesn’t cover

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When you’re calculating how much Medicare will cost, consider this information from Medicare.gov about what it doesn’t cover.

  • Routine dental care.
  • Dentures.
  • Hearing aids.
  • Routine eye care and most eyeglasses.
  • Routine foot care such as trimming corns and calluses.
  • Orthopedic shoes.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Chiropractic services, except to correct a subluxation (when one or more of the bones in the spine move out of position) using manipulation of the spine.
  • Some vaccinations.
  • Long-term care whether it is given at home or in a facility such as a nursing home.
  • Coverage when you are traveling outside the U.S. (Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands are all part of the United States, so if you’re wintering in one of those warm spots, you’re covered).

If you use one or more of the above services regularly and they are currently covered by your private insurance plan, when you move to Medicare, your costs will increase, and you’ll need to factor that into your retirement planning.

Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan could be part of the solution. Some of these services are covered by some Medicare Advantage plans, but there’s no guarantee. Medicare Advantage plans are all administered by private insurance companies that can and do set their own coverage options and rules.

Allsup Medicare Advisor service warns anyone purchasing a Medicare Advantage plan that appears to cover a frequently used service to read the fine print carefully. The coverage may have significant limitations.

Other options include buying an additional private insurance plan such as dental insurance. Signing up for discount cards also may offer some savings. If you have a very limited budget, Medicaid kicks in for some of these services.

In any case, be sure to factor these costs into your retirement budget with a generous inflation factor. Anyone who believes health care costs are going to decline is dreaming.