For Mark Roberts’ Use: With millions of Americans currently accessing Medicare benefits, and 10,000 new Baby Boomers turning 65 each day, the system is obviously experiencing some growing pains. Retirees, too, are often burdened with considerable out-of-pocket expenses, despite the affordability of Medicare premiums in general. A new bill, currently moving through Congress, seeks to expand certain services and limit out-of-pocket spending on others.

Congress is considering expansion of Medicare to cover dental, vision,and hearing services, an idea that has been proposed in the past but never made it to fruition. Currently, only some Advantage plan members can access these services, with providers often limited. Otherwise, Medicare beneficiaries must self-pay for dental, vision, and hearing, or purchase supplemental insurance plans.

Along with this expanded coverage, another part of the bill would allow Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies and cap out-of-pocket spending on prescription medications at $2,000 annually. The bill would also expand the low-income subsidy program which assists beneficiaries with Part D (prescription plan) premiums and out-of-pocket drug costs.

These potential changes are exciting, but keep in mind that the bill must still pass the House and then successfully move through the Senate. In the meantime, keep in mind that healthcare will cost the average retired couple $285,000 over the course of their retirement years. Regardless of what decisions Congress eventually makes regarding Medicare coverage, we must all plan accordingly for an income that accommodates out-of-pocket expenses in retirement.

Let’s discuss healthcare expenses at your next appointment. Then we can consider different ways to establish a flexible retirement income that allows you to live life to its fullest.