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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China still allowing use of pangolin scales in traditional medicine

The Chinese government continues to allow the use of pangolin scales for traditional medicine despite promises to crack down on a trade that has made them the most illegally trafficked mammals in the world.

Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

A report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reveals online sales platforms such as eBay and Taobao continue to advertise pangolin products, while major pharmaceutical companies, including the leading China Beijing Tong Ren Tang Group, offer similar items directly on their websites.

The researchers behind the Smoke and Mirrors report found 221 companies had been licensed to sell items containing pangolin scales, which appeared as an ingredient in 64 different products.

The watchdog group said this revealed major loopholes in China’s regulations that needed to be closed if the government is serious about protecting endangered wildlife.

Pangolin have almost disappeared in China because of a medically unproven belief that a broth containing the scales has medicinal qualities, including helping women who have problems lactating. Over recent decades the circle of slaughter and smuggling has steadily widened to neighbouring nations, then south-east Asia, and now Africa.

An estimated 200,000 pangolins are consumed each year in Asia, of which Chinese traditional medicine is the main driver. The latest world wildlife crime report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says 71% of pangolin scale seizures were destined for China. Vietnam is another major market.

Hopes for change were raised this summer when the Chinese government, which is due to host a global biodiversity summit, announced that pangolin scales had been removed from the official listing of approved ingredients in the traditional pharmacopoeia.

This won international kudos and, along with President Xi Jinping’s announcement of more ambitious cuts to carbon emission, prompted optimism that China was ready to take on an environmental leadership role, in contrast to the negligence of the US under Donald Trump.

But the EIA report reveals huge gaps in Chinese enforcement. The government continues to allow pharmaceutical companies to use pangolin scales from the national stockpile, which is “shrouded in secrecy and never seems to run out”. A related report earlier this year found China’s medical insurance system was still reimbursing users for traditional remedies containing pangolin, which undermined the broader goal of reducing the illegal trade.

“China has taken some half measures but not gone the full way in banning the use of pangolin scales in medicine,” said Chris Hamley, a senior pangolin campaigner at the EIA. “Given the massive illegal trade and weak regulation internally, it is very likely that pharmaceutical companies are using illegal scales. Our report found a whole bunch of those.”

He called on the National People’s Congress to close the loopholes when it reviews China’s wildlife protection law. Companies and their European investors could also make declarations not to use pangolin scales, which can be replaced by other herbal products. The international community could also use the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna

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Coronavirus in China: Beijing wants to promote traditional medicine but not everyone is on board

Every morning and evening, the 38-year-old was handed a bag of brown soup — a traditional Chinese remedy blended from over 20 herbs, including ephedra, cinnamon twigs and licorice root.

But unlike most patients around him, Xiong was skeptical of its efficacy and refused to drink it.

“In my opinion, it is a sheer placebo,” said, Xiong, who was discharged in late February from the makeshift hospital run by TCM doctors where no Western medicine was provided, apart from medication for underlying conditions, such as high blood pressure.

The “lung-clearing and detoxing soup,” as the herbal compound he was given is called, was part of the Chinese government’s push to use Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak.

As scientists race to find a cure and vaccine, China is increasingly turning to its traditional remedies. As of late last month, more than 85% of all coronavirus patients in China — about 60,000 people — had received herbal remedies alongside mainstream antiviral drugs, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.
“We are willing to share the ‘Chinese experience’ and ‘Chinese solution’ of treating Covid-19, and let more countries get to know Chinese medicine, understand Chinese medicine and use Chinese medicine,” Yu Yanhong, deputy head of China’s National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said at a press conference last week.
But even in China, where TCM has a large number of adherents, the government has been unable to quell its skeptics — like Xiong. Abroad, the herbal remedies could face even more skepticism from Western medical experts, who have long questioned their safety and effectiveness.
The Chinese government has been promoting the use of traditional Chinese medicine to treat Covid-19.

Search for a cure

There is no known cure for the coronavirus which has killed more than 4,000 people, sickened over 115,000 and spread to 75 countries and regions worldwide.

Scientists are working to find ways to stamp out the deadly virus. But for now, the mainstream antiviral treatments focus on relieving the symptoms — and that’s where China believes its ancient remedies can help.

“By adjusting the whole body health and improving immunity, TCM can help stimulate the patients’ abilities to resist and recover from the disease, which is an effective way of therapy,” she said, adding that traditional medicine had helped fight viruses in the past, such as the SARS pandemic in 2002 and 2003 that killed hundreds in China.

So far, more than 50,000 novel coronavirus patients have been discharged from hospital, and the majority of them used TCM, Yu said, citing it as evidence for the efficacy of using Chinese and Western medicine in tandem

In a clinical trial of 102 patients with mild symptoms in Wuhan, patients with combined treatments compared with the control group of patients receiving only Western medicine, Yu said. Their recovery rate was 33% higher, she added.

In another study of more serious cases, patients receiving combined treatments also left hospital sooner than the control group and had greater levels of oxygen in their blood and a higher lymphocyte count — an

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Explaining Traditional Chinese Medicine | HowStuffWorks

Traditional Chinese medicine is an ancient practice still used by millions of people all over the world — even after the development of modern scientific medicine.

At the root of traditional Chinese medicine is the belief that the individual (microcosm) is viewed as an integral part of the forces of nature (macrocosm). By careful observation of nature, Taoist sages were able to perceive patterns common to both the external environment and the internal climate of the human body. Over a period of thousands of years, the cumulative observations of sages all over China led to an intricate system of diagnosis and healing.

These traditional Chinese ancient remedies have more than withstood the tests of time — they have passed the tests of modern medicine. The links at the bottom of this page will take you to articles that explain the theories and practice of traditional Chinese medicine. Explore the history of traditional Chinese medicine and learn how these ancient remedies — from acupuncture to green tea — are still practiced today.

Traditional Chinese Medicine History

The ancient beliefs and practice of traditional Chinese medicine have been healing people for thousands of years. Explore the history and development of traditional Chinese medicine.

How Yin and Yang Works

Traditional Chinese medicine revolves around the idea of a constant state of change, explained through the theory of yin and yang. Read this article to learn how yin and yang works.

How Qi Works

The power of qi is central to traditional Chinese medicine. Find out how qi works and how this vital substance and other basic elements compose the body and mind.

How Yin Organs Work

In traditional Chinese medicine, the five yin organs include the lungs, spleen, heart, liver, and kidneys. Learn how yin organs work and their relationship to the rest of the body.

How Yang Organs Work

The yang organs in traditional Chinese medicine are composed of the stomach, small and large intestine, urinary bladder, gallbladder, and “triple burner.” Explore the functions of yang organs in this article.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Disharmony

It’s amazing how traditional Chinese medicine can uncover the cause of diseases without the aid of modern technology. Learn how certain symptoms are identified through patterns of disharmony.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Causes of Illness

Many factors are considered in determining a cause of illness with traditional Chinese medicine, including dietary habits and emotions. Find out how everyday surroundings and feelings can cause illness.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Internal Organ Syndromes

Identifying which internal organs are affected by disharmony is an important step in preparing an effective traditional Chinese medical treatment. Read descriptions of lung syndromes, heart syndromes, liver syndromes, and more.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnosis

Diagnosis in traditional Chinese medicine is simple yet effective — diagnostic observation includes looking, listening, smelling, asking, and touching. Learn about traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis in this article.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture

While acupuncture has made its way into mainstream Western culture, it remains an ancient practice of traditional Chinese medicine. Get details on

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The Differences Between Traditional And Alternative Medicine

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Please seek the advice of your doctor, or well being care provider before taking any house cures or supplements or embarking on a new health regime. “False safety” is sometimes created by these medicines in patients thoughts. This distinctive four-year medical faculty program emphasizes primary care and different specialties of need in rural communities.

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