An insurance for seniors guide to living through cancer

by the Editor, SeniorInsider | May 27, 2011

It should be no surprise to you that one of the most important factors in handling an illness like cancer is having adequate senior insurance to cover the various costs involved.   Obviously, you want to be able to receive the best health care possible, so it is important that your insurance is adequate.  The last thing that you want to be worrying about is paying your bills.  This article will explore insurance for seniors including Medicare and Medicare supplemental insurance.

Exploring Insurance for Seniors

Senior insurance can be quite a bit different than coverage for younger individuals.  First of all, when you get to be 65 years old, you are eligible to receive Medicare benefits.  Keep in mind that Medicare will not handle all expenses.  You will still be responsible for sharing in the costs of your senior insurance.  

Types of Medicare Senior Insurance

Medicare Part A and Part B will both assist you in paying for your cancer treatment.  Part A will assist you to pay for any stays in the hospital.  Even if you have not yet retired, you can still receive benefits from Medicare Part A.

Medicare Part B assists seniors to pay for outpatient services as well as visits to the doctor.   Most seniors are required to pay a monthly fee when they start receiving Medicare Part B.   If you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B when you first become eligible for insurance for seniors, you may end up being charged more in the future.  

What if You Can’t Pay Senior Insurance Premiums?

Many seniors find that the monthly premiums that are incurred under Medicare Part B are too high to afford.  In that case, there can often be assistance available to you.  To find out, contact your local Seniors and People with Disabilities office to receive an application.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance for Seniors

You may not have heard of “Medigap” before, but this is a special plan that covers gaps in coverage between Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.  Medigap is also commonly referred to as Medicare Supplemental Insurance.  You can get your Medigap plan from a private insurance company.

While Medicare Supplemental Insurance does not cover prescription drugs, you can get special prescription drug coverage.  In fact, Medicare will provide drug insurance to all people who have Medicare.   This additional plan can be purchased if you already have Medicare Part A and B, or you have Medicare Part A and B and a Medigap Plan.

Another Type of Senior Insurance- Medicare Advantage Plans

If you feel as though your Medicare coverage is getting too confusing, it is possible to combine them into one package, which is called the Medicare Advantage Plan.  To qualify, you must live within a designated area that offers it and use physicians and hospitals that are in the network.  

Senior Insurance and Cancer Prevention

Medicare takes strides to cover preventative health services that can help to detect cancer early on.  For example, every year Medicare will pay for a wellness exam.  If you can find a doctor who accepts this form of insurance for seniors, you will not need to pay anything for this visit.  Medicare will also pay to help you quit smoking in the form of counseling.  This is actually a new medical insurance coverage benefit that was added to Medicare in 2011.  

Further, Medicare pays for screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer.  This coverage includes regular screenings.  Whether you qualify for yearly or biannual screenings will depend upon your risk factors.  

If you have cancer, you ideally want to focus all of your energy on healing.  Therefore, it is a good idea to try to understand ahead of time the various health insurance coverage options that are available for seniors.  Through this means, hopefully, you can get the proper treatment that you need without worrying about costs.



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