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3 Ways to Reduce Out-Of-Pocket Expenses in Medicare

Copyright © 2014 AARP. All rights reserved.

Yes, Medicare comes with a lot of out-of-pocket costs: premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, not to mention those services you pay for because Medicare just doesn’t cover them. If you’re lucky, you may have retiree benefits from a former employer that help reduce them.

But otherwise, perhaps you’re gulping a bit and wondering whether you can find any respite out there. Help does exist, though it takes several different forms that don’t apply to everybody:

  • Medigap insurance: If you can afford it, you can buy Medigap supplemental insurance to lower your costs — which essentially means paying extra (through Medigap premiums) to pay less (in deductibles and co-pays that traditional Medicare charges).

    Topsy-turvy as it sounds, you can actually save quite a lot of money this way. About one in five people in Medicare purchases these policies.

  • Medicare Advantage: An alternative is to join a Medicare Advantage plan, which may be another way to reduce costs.

  • State and federal help: If your income is very limited, you may qualify for different kinds of assistance from your state to help pay Medicare costs. And a limited income may also get you through the door of the federal program called Extra Help, which provides Part D prescription drug coverage at much lower cost than you’d otherwise pay for it.

Be sure to look in detail at Medigap, state/federal options, and other ways of cutting down on expenses, and ask around for tips on how to put them into practice.

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