While this is definitely a time to catch up with loved ones, remember that the holiday season also provides a great opportunity to bring up the topic of health insurance, especially for the children of aging parents.
This may feel like a heavy topic to tackle during the holidays, but it’s easier to talk about the preparation of caring for an elderly parent than having to scramble during a moment of crisis.
Many health care plans are available for the aging population. But how do you determine which plan is best for your parents’ needs – and budget – to ensure you don’t incur any unexpected expenses?
Here are a few tips to remember when discussing health care options with your loved ones:
What are the benefits of the insurance plan your parents currently have?
What are the extra benefits that your parents typically take advantage of? Different health plans offer various benefits to members. Some come with a cost while others do not. Does the current insurance provider offer rewards for shopping around before receiving a procedure? Are different types of care such as dental and vision covered? Is your parents’ current physician in the coverage network? Do they have access to perks like companion care, over the counter allowances and gym memberships?
This value-added services will likely save them money in the long run, so they are definitely worth investigating before enrolling in a plan.
Does their previous employment entitle them to a specific health care plan?
Did you know retired public school teachers or federal employees have specific health care plans they are eligible for? These plans offer great benefits to people who have served their community, such as lower premiums, prescription drug coverage and much more. Research if your parents meet the criteria for these plans.
Do they qualify for Medicare, or will they need to purchase individual insurance?
Use the calculator tool through medicare.gov to determine if your parents are eligible for Medicare coverage. Many health plans also offer a similar search tool to help you determine what Medicare plans are offered in your area.
If your parents do not qualify for Medicare, eligibility typically begins at age 65, they will need to purchase an individual plan.
There are many options they can choose, from a high-deductible plan with a health savings account, to narrow or tiered network plans that have a lower cost with more restrictions. To get an idea of the cost for an individual plan, use the plan advisor tool and weigh your family’s options.
Remember, when comparing insurance coverage from different companies you should compare more than just cost. The added member benefits, provider network, as well as the price tag, need to be weighed when making this decision.
Now enjoy some turkey and lighter, delicious sides this Thanksgiving over a healthy conversation about choosing the best health insurance options. It can help put your mind, and hopefully your parents’ minds, at ease.