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There is no way around it. At some point, we are all going to have to retire. Yet not even half of Americans know just how much they need to save for retirement. Given the fact that the average person will spend at least 20 years in retirement, it makes no sense to go into this stage of life without the proper information. Fortunately, SeniorSmart is here to help through our retirement benefits guide. There are numerous benefits and regulations one has to navigate in retirement so having clearly articulated and easily accessible guidelines and explanations available is a boon. Here at SeniorSmart, we strive to provide the access and advice you need to prepare for retirement for either yourself or for a loved one.

Medicare Benefits

Medicare is a federal health insurance program designed to pay for a variety of health care expenses. Its beneficiaries are typically senior citizens aged 65 and older but adults with certain approved medical conditions or permanent disabilities are also eligible.

Traditional Medicare (also known as Plan A) covers about 80% of hospital charges. This part of Medicare, with a few exceptions, has to be signed up for in a window of 3 months the month you turn 65 and 3 months (a total of 7 months). The plan has no premiums, so even if you have good private insurance, you should sign up sometime in these 7 months.

Medicare A still leaves you responsible for all of your drug costs, the costs of doctor visits, and most outpatient and imaging centers and roughly 20% of your in-hospital costs. These costs can be handled either through a Medicare Advantage Plan or through a combination of Medicare supplement plans. The team at SeniorSmart would love to talk with you about which option is right for you.

Benefits are broken down into four parts:

  • Part A: This covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility, hospice, lab tests, surgery, and home health care.
  • Part B: This portion of Medicare covers doctor and other health care providers’ services and outpatient care as well as durable medical equipment, home health care, and some preventive services.
  • Part C: Medicare Advantage is private health insurance including every type of Medicare coverage in one health plan. It’s offered by private insurance companies and enrolling in this plan is optional. 
  • Part D: Medicare Part D offers coverage for prescription drugs and is available as a stand-alone prescription drug plan through private insurance companies. In this plan, individuals share in the costs of their prescription drugs according to the specific plan in which they enrolled. These can be a deductible, a flat copayment amount, or a percentage of the full drug cost (called “coinsurance”).

Social Security Benefits

Qualified retirees, the disabled, and their spouses, children, and survivors are eligible for the benefits of this program. Social Security was designed as a means to continue or supplement one’s income to alleviate poverty as one grew older. It has since expanded as a federal program to provide the necessary cultural support for all who need it. 

Over their years of working, individuals paid into the Social Security program accruing the credits they need to qualify for benefits. These benefits are based on an individual’s earnings history when they were born, and the age they start to claim Social Security. Individuals can choose to begin receiving retirement benefits at any time at the age of 62. But, there are incentives to waiting until retiring between 65 and 67. The amount of your benefits will be permanently reduced by a certain percentage if you begin claiming them before you reach full retirement age. Spouses who don’t work or haven’t amassed the requisite number of credits can receive benefits based on their spouse’s work record. Also, benefits may be taxed depending on an individual’s income and tax filing status to ensure equity.

SeniorSmart’s Retirement Benefits Guide

Here at SeniorSmart, we believe everyone should have easy access to the information and resources they need to make informed decisions about retirement and their life as a senior. Therefore, provide numerous resources explaining your benefits and how to get them in plain language. For instance, we provide:

At SeniorSmart, seniors and family members will find the information they need to help them make choices in their best interest. Find out more by reaching out to us at 205.460.1124 and learn about our concierge services offering personalized guidance.