Medicare does not pay all of your medical expenses. Medicare Parts A and B, generally known as Original Medicare, have several coverage gaps.
In general, Original Medicare doesn’t cover the following:
- Prescription drugs
- Auditory aids
- The majority of vision care, including eye examinations and eyeglasses
- Most dental care
Several private Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for eye examinations and prescription drugs. There is, however, a difference in coverage levels between plans, and these services might be limited.
Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare do not cover the following:
- Extended care
- Medical Marijuana
- Medical costs incurred outside the U.S.
- Most cosmetic procedures
- Sterilization, including hysterectomy, is prohibited unless medically required.
Because of coverage gaps, Medicare recipients can quickly accrue enormous out-of-pocket expenses. Here are a few strategies to save money on Medicare-ineligible expenses ( eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dental treatment).
How to Save Money on Everything Not Covered by Medicare
It is especially vital for retirees on a fixed income to save on health care costs.
Original Medicare beneficiaries are primarily responsible for paying for dental treatment. The federal health insurance program does not cover routine dental appointments, cleanings, fillings, dentures, root canals, and tooth extractions.
Here are four clever methods to save money on Medicare dental care without compromising your gorgeous smile.
Community Health Clinic
Low-income people can access reduced-cost or free dental care through federally-supported community health clinics. Many businesses utilize a sliding scale, while others provide flexible payment options.
It is vital to contact your local clinic in advance, ideally before you require urgent treatment because wait times might be lengthy.
Dental Savings Plan
Dental savings programs are not insurance but may save you money if enrolled in Original Medicare. An annual fee is usually charged for the dental savings plan, and you receive a 10–60% discount on most dental services. Annual membership fees for dental discount plans, such as those available on DentalPlans.com, range from $80 to $200.
These plans contract with dentists who agree to reduce their prices, and you pay the dentist directly with your discount. To be clear, you are still responsible for paying for these services; however, you will likely spend less than you would without insurance.
Examine the figures to determine if enrolling in a dental plan makes sense. It may be more economical to use alternative discounts.
Dental schools around the nation provide affordable, high-quality services. You may save a lot of money by allowing a dental student to clean your teeth. Licensed dental teachers assist students at every stage, so you are in excellent hands.
Oral cancer screenings, fluoride treatments, and cleanings are among the services offered by dental schools. There is no assurance that a program in your region provides free or discounted dental treatment, and you must contact each program individually to determine what is offered.
Make sure to inquire about any costs when you contact them.
Coupons and Vouchers
Visit sites like Groupon and Valpak for discounts and coupons on dental treatment if you want to save money. In Phoenix, Arizona, multiple X-ray, exam, and cleaning packages can be found for $40 to $80 on Groupon. Several facilities discounted tooth extractions and dentures by 35%.
Inquire whether your present dentist gives any discounts. Dentists may cut their rates, give a less costly treatment choice, assist you in establishing a payment plan, or offer a sliding scale option. Request a discount for introducing a friend or for paying with cash. Or ask if they provide a discount if you submit a nice review online.
However, if payment is still required at the time of service, you can pay using a Care Credit Card. Care Credit functions similarly to a conventional credit card for medical and dental bills but offers 0% APR choices based on your credit score.
Hearing aids are costly, and Original Medicare does not pay for them.
This technology can cost up to $2,000 per ear. Ouch!
Over-the-counter hearing aids
A new generation of over-the-counter hearing aids recently became available. The best part is that you do not require a prescription, making them an affordable option. Over-the-counter hearing aids can save customers $2,876 per pair, according to Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council.
These new gadgets, certified by the FDA, will include the same fundamental technology as conventional hearing aids. However, over-the-counter devices will not require a fitting or hearing assessment.
Adults suffering from mild to severe hearing loss will have access to over-the-counter hearing aids. Similar to inexpensive reading glasses, they’re not intended for everyone or every occasion. Over-the-counter hearing aids are available online, in pharmacies, and retail stores.
Costco offers bulk pricing on hearing aids with a prescription. Kirkland Signature, the store’s private label, sells hearing aids for around $1,400 per pair, or roughly half the price of comparable name-brand products. There are also free hearing exams accessible. Not all Costco locations offer audiologists or hearing specialists on-site, and an appointment is required. Additionally, you must join up for a Costco membership, which begins at $60 per year.
The Miracle-Ear Foundation’s Gift of Sound Program
The Gift of Sound program of the Miracle-Ear Foundation offers hearing aids to adults with hearing loss. You are eligible if your income is less than 200% of the federal poverty line and you have few assets. Individuals that make $27,180 or couples making $36,620 per year fall within 200 percent of the federal poverty threshold.
Before applying, you must contact your local Miracle-Ear store. A $150 application fee and supporting paperwork from a hearing care specialist are necessary.
Vision Aids and Eye Exams
Original Medicare will generally cover treatment for major eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma. However, this does not apply to routine eye exams and glasses. You will be liable for these out-of-pocket expenses. Therefore it is essential to save as much cash as possible.
Here are three cost-saving strategies for Medicare eyesight coverage.
Produce Your AARP or AAA Membership Card
Members of AAA and AARP can obtain discounts on eye exams and glasses at LensCrafters and other national retailers.
LensCrafters offers the following discounts to AAA and AARP members:
- 50% off prescription lenses when you buy a frame.
- 15% off lenses and frames separately.
- 10% off disposable contact lenses.
- 30% off sunglasses without prescription lenses.
Members of AARP also enjoy these discounts from other vendors:
Comprehensive eye exam for $55 at participating independent optometrists.
At Target Optical, you can save $10 on a complete pair.
Contact lenses are discounted by 10% at Target Optical.
Target Optical is offering a discount of $10 on non-prescription sunglasses.
Glasses.com offers 30% off a complete set of glasses with a valid code.
Examine Low-Cost Online Eyeglasses Retailers
Online eyewear purchases may save hundreds of dollars.
Some internet shops, such as Zenni Optical, provide single-vision prescription glasses for as little as $7.
Many of these websites provide “virtual try-on” capabilities and offer straightforward return policies, allowing you to discover frames and lenses that suit your needs. According to a poll conducted by Consumer Reports, the median price for internet eyewear purchases was $91, while in-store purchases were $234.
Most Costco and Walmart stores include optical clinics that offer eye tests and glasses at reasonable prices. On average, Walmart eye tests cost around $75, although costs vary by region. The cost of an eye test at Costco varies, but you should expect to pay around $65 for one.
Additionally, both locations provide an extensive assortment of lenses and frames. It is usually possible to purchase single-vision lenses and generic frames for less than $50.
Prescription medications may be costly. If you feel you are overpaying for prescription medicines, here are three strategies to save money.
GoodRx is a well-known program that helps individuals save money on medicines.
Medicare and GoodRx cannot be coupled. However, the app can be used in place of insurance to earn savings.
- GoodRx may be preferable to your Medicare coverage if: Medicare does not cover your medicine.
- Medicare copayments are cheaper than GoodRx costs.
- If you still need to meet your yearly deductible.
If you want to utilize GoodRx instead of Medicare, instruct the pharmacist to process the prescription as a cash or self-pay transaction. Then, display the GoodRx coupon on your mobile device to earn the discount.
Find an Assistance Program for Patients
Pharmaceutical firms provide patient assistance programs that offer free or reduced prescriptions to people who qualify, and Medicare provides an online search tool for locating pharmaceutical assistance programs. The eligibility requirements for each program include income, medical insurance status, and geography.
If you take pricey brand-name prescriptions, you may also contact the drug manufacturer to inquire about rebates or discounts for your meds.
Ensure You Have a Good Medicare Part D Plan
Consider reviewing your existing coverage and comparing Part D prescription drug plans if you’re spending significantly on your drugs.
Medicare.gov’s Plan Finder Tool is the best method to locate a medication plan that meets your needs.
Why is it essential to examine your Medicare coverage roughly once a year? Private plan providers can alter costs annually, and they may increase your deductible or modify the pricing tiers for particular prescriptions.
If one of your medications is removed from the formulary or moved to a different tier, your copayments may increase significantly. This Medicare Plan Finder tool allows you to compare the pricing and coverage of your region’s Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans.
You may receive a personalized monthly cost estimate based on your prescriptions and the pharmacies you visit. During Medicare open enrollment, which occurs annually from October 15 to December 7, you may change your coverage.
If you need assistance choosing a Medicare Part D plan or comparing alternatives, you may contact your state’s health insurance assistance program. They are federally sponsored programs operated by trained volunteers from nonprofit organizations.