MoneyWise Live


Medicare and More with Howard Russell

July 19, 2018

Our need for health services increases as we age. The federal Medicare program is a great help to senior citizens and some 55 million Americans are enrolled. But will it protect you from someday getting a huge medical bill?  The truth is most of us will need to supplement Medicare with something more because there are gaps in Medicare coverage for seniors necessitating  supplemental programs. 

Here's Medicare broken down into the parts -

Part A (often called  Original Medicare) covers your facilities expenses like hospital visits.  It covers:

  • Hospital stays
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Some hospice care
  • Some home health-care services

You may still have various deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
Many people qualify for premium-free Part A because they or their spouse paid taxes toward Medicare for at least 10 years (or 40 quarters).

Part B cover covers professional services like doctor visits. It covers:

  • Conditions requiring a doctor's office visits
  • Lab work
  • X-rays
  • Outpatient surgeries
  • Also covers preventive services like cancer screenings and flu shots.

Typically you'll pay a deductible and on top of that— 20-percent of the Medicare approved amount— if you use providers who accept Medicare— and still— those expenses can add up quickly.
Medicare Part B is similar to routine health insurance and covers.

You see gaps in coverage and that's why there's Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage).
Part C are supplemental plans offered by private insurance companies
Offers the benefits of Parts A and B and offer additional ones
Still have to pay the necessary premiums of Part B, however
About one third of Medicare beneficiaries or about 18 million seniors are enrolled in a Part C plan
Take precautions when traveling with Part C plans as you can be out of region.
Part C is where an alternative approach like Christian Healthcare Ministries comes in.

Medicare Part D is another supplemental program that covers prescriptions drugs.  

Christian Healthcare Ministries -

Christian Healthcare Ministries is not an insurance program like those in Medicare Part C. It's based on members sharing their expenses.

If you enroll in a CHM plan, you still use Medicare Parts A and B first for your covered expenses. After that, your bills are paid by other members. 
CHM doesn’t have a program specific to Medicare-age members. Membership at the Gold level combined with Brother's Keeper is the best option for members of all ages offering the highest level of cost support and helping with medical bills incurred from inpatient or outpatient hospital incidents and surgery, medical testing, maternity, physical therapy and home health care, incident-related doctor's office visits and incident-related prescriptions.
You don't need Medicare Part D with the CHM Gold Plan and Brother’s Keeper.
CHM shares up to $125,000 per illness and adding Brother's Keeper to your Gold program means there's no limit to the dollar amount of bills eligible for sharing through CHM. 

Rob and Howard Russell answer listener questions about Medicare and Christian Healthcare Ministries:

  • If you and your husband are 72 and 73 years of age and on Medicare with supplement insurance that costs $200 a month, should you consider Christian Healthcare Ministries?
  • Is there a penalty if you're eligible for Medicare and you don't sign up?
  • What's the cutoff expense per month where you should consider using Christian Healthcare Ministries?
  • How are pre-existing conditions handled with Christian Healthcare Ministries?

Next, Rob and Steve tackle listener questions at 800-525-7000 and via email to Questions@MoneyWiseLive.org on a variety of topics:

  • If you're concerned that you are loosing money in your Roth IRA, what would be your options?
  • Should you prioritize paying off your mortgage or building more funds in your 403(b)?
  • If you're wanting to buy a home but have credit card debt, should you combine the credit card debt into your mortgage to start off on the right foot?

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