As you know, Kids Ain’t Cheap normally talks about young children and finance. However, as children grow up, they sometimes find themselves in the parenting/guardian position. In somewhat of a role reversal, older parents often end up needing assistance from their children. So, we felt this was an important topic to talk about.
Once your parents reach Social Security retirement age, Medicare becomes a significant part of their lives. The program provides them with a certain level of medical insurance, ensuring more manageable expenses. This is especially important once parents are no longer working. You, as the adult child, may have to play a major role in this process. Here’s how to care for your elderly parents via Medicare coverage.
Medicare Part A and Part B are rarely enough to handle all the expenses that may come their way. Program coverage gaps are common, making supplemental policies potentially necessary as a means of making their health care needs affordable.
Each Medicare Part offers different forms of supplemental coverage. For example, Part A is hospital insurance while Part B is medical insurance. Part D, one of the best-known supplements, covers prescriptions, but there are more to choose from as well, including Part G.
If you find yourself wondering, “What is Medicare Part G?” here’s what you need to know about this plan, and how it can help make caring for your elderly parents more affordable.
Understanding Medicare Part G
While technically called Medicare Plan G, most people casually refer to the supplement as Part G. The program, one of many Medigap plans, provides additional coverage designed to address the gaps in Medicare Parts A and B.
For example, Medicare Part G handles the deductible for Medicare Part A. This means your parent won’t have to pay that deductible out of pocket. Instead, Part G shoulders the cost for them.
Part G also covers coinsurance or copayments (copays) for Parts A and B, another expense that doesn’t have to be paid out of pocket. This coverage also covers coinsurance costs for skilled nursing facilities and hospices. The program can even help manage medical care costs in certain foreign countries, which may be incredibly valuable if your parents want to travel during their retirement.
Is Medicare Part G the Most Comprehensive Supplement?
While Medicare Part G is one of the more robust supplements, it isn’t necessarily the most comprehensive. For example, it doesn’t help with Part B deductibles at all.
One of the slightly more robust alternatives is Medicare Part F, which does have the deductible benefit for Part B. However, aside from Part F, Part G is one of the most comprehensive options available.
Can You Use Part G with a Medicare Advantage Plan?
If your parent uses Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, then they cannot sign up for Part G. This makes it critical that your parents weigh all of their Medicare supplemental options each year to determine which combination of options provides the best total coverage.
Each year, during open enrollment, changes can be made to anyone’s Medicare plans. If your parents currently have Medicare Advantage but would come out ahead by switching from a Part C supplement to a Part G program, then they can do so during open enrollment. However, it’s important to note that, once certain forms of coverage are dropped, signing up for them later might not be a possibility. It’s important to find out if this applies to any option before they decide to make a switch.
Since there are 10 Medicare parts available (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N), there are numerous potential combinations of coverage. While this gives recipients more flexibility in crafting their ideal solution, it also means that spending some time to research the options to determine which approach is the most cost-effective. Providing the right amount of coverage is a necessity every year.
Ultimately, Medicare Part G can make caring for your elderly parents easier by reducing out of pocket expenses. Also, more of their health-related costs are predictable. However, whether it is right for your parents depends on their unique situation, so it’s best to research before selecting plans or making any changes.
Do you know how to care for your elderly parents via medicare coverage when the time comes? If so, tell us about it in the comments below.
This is a guest post by Tamila McDonald from SavingAdvice.com. If you would like to see more of her work, check out the articles below:
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