“In 2013, UnitedHealthcare conducted a survey of 1,000 adults ages 65 and up, questioning their knowledge of the Medicare program,” according to Sean Williams of The Motley Fool. “The results showed that about 20% find Medicare to be ‘confusing,’ with many respondents unaware of what each part of the program covers.”
The survey also concluded that only 5% were aware that Medicare Advantage plans cover hospital care, doctor visits, and prescription drug costs. Only about one-third of respondents were aware of the fact that Medicare Part B, or medical insurance, provides coverage for doctor visits.
It’s important to know what each part covers illustrated below:
In order for seniors to take full advantage of Medicare, it’s important to know what Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B won’t cover. Here are 10 services Medicare Part A and B won’t pay for that seniors should acknowledge:
1. Out-of-country medical care
Medicare does not offer assistance if you’re traveling outside of the country. If you’re planning to go overseas, you may want to look into some form of supplemental health insurance plan.
2. Hearing aids and routine hearing tests
Under Medicare, hearing loss tests and hearing aid devices are considered elective, meaning you will have to pay for these services. An exception would be diagnostic hearing tests ordered by your doctor or healthcare provider to determine whether you need medical treatment. In this case, Medicare Part B would help pay for this service.
3. Routine eye care and most eyeglasses
Vision care is classified as an elective by Medicare, which means it is your responsibility to pay. However, the one exception to the rule pertains to cataract surgery where an intraocular lens is implanted. In this instance, Medicare Part B will help pay for one pair of corrective glasses or contact lenses. Beyond this, vision care should be covered by a supplemental plan offered by private insurers.
4. Routine dental care and dentures
Routine dental care is also not covered by either Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B. The one exception to the rule would be Medicare Part A, which would help pay for certain dental services you might need when you’re a patient in the hospital (i.e., emergency or complicated dental procedures).
5. Routine foot care
If your doctor (usually a podiatrist) orders necessary treatments for heel spurs, bunion deformities, or hammer toes, then you’ll be covered by Medicare Part B. If, however, you want a corn or callus removed, or need some other maintenance procedure, you will have to pay out of pocket.
6. Cosmetic surgery
If you want cosmetic surgery, Medicare will not cover this procedure. The exception is when the cosmetic surgery will repair an accidental injury or improve the function of a “malformed body part,” as described by Medicare.gov. Examples include breast prostheses following a breast cancer-related mastectomy, eyelid reduction in cases where vision is substantially hindered, and potentially plastic surgery procedures following a gastric bypass.
7. Acupuncture, acupressure, and homeopathic treatments
Unfortunately for those who use acupuncture, acupressure, or homeopathic treatments, Medicare doesn’t cover any of them, as they’re deemed elective rather than necessary treatments. The one exception would be limited chiropractic coverage under Medicare Part B.
8. Custodial care
Medicare Part A will help cover some of the expenses involved in skilled nursing facility care, including the changing of sterile dressings. But if all you need is custodial care (i.e., help with bathing, dressing, eating, and using the bathroom), then you’ll be 100% responsible for the cost.
9. Certain diabetes supplies
Medicare Part B actually covers quite a bit when it comes to diabetes testing supplies and services. An eligible patient can get glucose strips and monitors, insulin, and yearly glaucoma, eye, and foot exams. However, it’s not uncommon for diabetics to need more than insulin to manage their disease. Any medications beyond insulin are likely to fall under Part D coverage and would thus be outside the purview of Part B coverage.
10. Personal comfort items and services
Medicare doesn’t cover personal comfort items and services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provides examples of radios, televisions, or beauty and barber services as examples the consumer will be responsible for covering. Among the rare exceptions would be basic personal services performed within skilled nursing facilities, such as shaves, haircuts, and shampoos, which would be covered under Medicare Part A.
The new Medicare Plus Card saves you up to 75% on things not covered by Medicare
Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Luckily, those on Medicare can now start saving on out of pocket expenses like prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, and more. Over 1 million people have already received their free Medicare Plus Card.