Why you’ll want more than traditional Medicare in retirement

Why you'll want more than traditional Medicare in retirement
Why you’ll want more than traditional Medicare in retirement

When you turn, you qualify for Medicare, the federal health insurance program for older Americans. Medicare open enrollment runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

While many seniors expect Medicare to be a one-stop health insurance solution, it often isn’t enough.

The program offers coverage for hospital stays, doctor appointments, medical tests and more. But there’s a lot that Medicare doesn’t pay for, and the out-of-pocket costs can drain your savings.

“Medicare covers only 80% of outpatient expenses, which comes as a surprise to many who are new to Medicare,” says Danielle Roberts, co-founder of Boomer Benefits in Fort Worth, Texas. “Many beneficiaries purchase supplemental coverage to help fill in the gaps.”

It’s very possible you’ll find you need more than basic Medicare.

Costs and coverage from ‘original’ Medicare

Medicare Card for a Fictitious John Doe
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Traditional Medicare means Part A plus Part B.

The basic form of Medicare is known as “original” or “traditional” Medicare. Both names refer to Medicare Parts A and B.

Part A, Medicare’s “hospital insurance,” covers hospital care and some home health services. Most people don’t pay premiums for Part A, but you do face a $1,408 deductible in 2020 when you’re admitted to a hospital.

Once a hospital stay stretches past 60 days, patients also must pay coinsurance of $352 per day.

Part B, Medicare’s “medical insurance,” covers doctor visits, tests, preventive screenings, outpatient surgical care, some medical equipment, physical therapy and mental health services.

But you have to meet a $198 deductible, and then Part B picks up only 80% of those costs. “Beneficiaries are responsible for the other 20%, with no limit,” says Roberts.

Part B also comes with premiums, starting at $144.60 per month in 2020. You can be required to pay more if your income surpasses some thresholds. Medicare has five higher premium levels for seniors at higher incomes, going all the way up to $491.60 per month.

Why most seniors will want more than original Medicare

Missing puzzle pieces.Concept image of unfinished task.
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Traditional Medicare has many coverage gaps.

There are two big problems with trying to make it on Medicare Parts A and B alone:

First, original Medicare doesn’t cover many of the essentials, including prescriptions, dentures, eyeglasses or hearing aids.

And second, original Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs have no cap. Many common health conditions require a significant amount of care – and your 20% share of the outpatient costs under Part B can be colossal.

So, most seniors will want to look into some other options, which include going deeper into the Medicare alphabet. You may want to turn to a certified financial planner for help navigating your choices.

The alternatives to original Medicare

Medicare Part C papers, glasses and stethoscope.
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Medicare Part C is also known as Medicare advantage.

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is a private insurance alternative to traditional Medicare that often includes additional benefits, such as vision, dental or drug coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans do have

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How to Set Fitness Goals You’ll Actually Achieve, According to Top Trainers

Fitness goals are important on several counts. They hold us accountable, expand our definition of possible, and encourage us to push through temporary discomfort for longer-lasting change. But figuring out how to set fitness goals you’ll actually want to attain can be part art, part science.

Mark DiSalvo, NYC-based certified strength and conditioning specialist, explains it this way: A good fitness goal can be “your North Star when you have bad days,” he tells SELF. In other words, a goal, if thoughtful and well structured, can give you the extra incentive to keep going when motivation wanes, or when life otherwise gets in the way.

The problem is that during this time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of New Year’s resolutions and set goals that are too lofty, unsustainable, and otherwise unrealistic. We then fail to achieve them and feel worse about ourselves than before we started. This year, to avoid that detrimental downward spiral altogether, we asked DiSalvo and four other top trainers to share their advice for doing fitness goal setting right. Here, 11 of their tips for enacting real, positive change.

1. Focus on one goal at a time.

When it comes to setting a fitness goal, “one of the biggest mistakes is that people try to do too much at one time,” Kellen Scantlebury, D.P.T., certified strength and conditioning specialist and founder of Fit Club NY, tells SELF. Perhaps you want to hit the gym every day, cut out added sugar, and get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Trying to tackle that much at once is essentially just setting yourself up for failure. With so many things to achieve, “people get anxious, and if they didn’t do one thing, they feel like a failure,” says Scantlebury. This can lead to negative self-talk that lowers your chances of achieving any of the goals.

Instead, pick one thing you want to crush—like, doing a pull-up, or completing your first-ever 5K—and channel your efforts into achieving that before exploring another goal.

2. Make it your own.

It can be easy to scroll through the ‘gram and feel inspired-yet-envious by images of the super fit. Yet basing your own goals off of what you see others achieving is neither productive nor practical.

“When we are bombarded by images of what fitness should look like and how we should do XYZ, it can be hard to identify what’s good for you,” Tony Vidal, NYC-based certified strength and conditioning specialist and master trainer with fitness app POPiN, tells SELF. Certain things that top athletes can do—run a marathon, do 100 push-ups, master the most challenging yoga poses—“may be great for them, but it’s not metric that everyone should be measured by,” says Vidal. In other words, your goal should be your goal—something that you personally are excited about and realistically able to achieve—not someone else’s.

3. Make it measurable, specific, and time-bound.

Having a measurable goal allows your to track your progress, says

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