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Medicare and SSI

December 12th, 2005 at 03:58 am

I posted this in the discussion forum, but realized that's really just a debate going on between two members. So, I'll stick to keeping my thoughts in my journal!

I am retired at 40 and living the life on no retirement (until we reach that age), and caring for two elderly parents on SSI/Medicare.

Self-coverage of medical insurance without government assistance is expensive, right now hubbie and I each pay $500 a month WITHOUT prescription coverage.

SSI, whether or not it is there in 10, 20, or 50 years is not as much of an issue as the medical coverage under SSI.

Right NOW, many people on SSI can barely stretch their monthly check to cover their medical insurance. Under SSDI or SSI, yes, they receive Medicare. Medicare plan A covers hospitalization ONLY, and if you are "fortunate" to qualify for part B, they cover HALF of your medical, just doctors and tests, no meds or eyes or dental. To make up the difference, you must buy a Medigap plan, which is Aetna or BlueCross, etc., and covers the other HALF of what Medicare ALLOWS (i.e., no scripts, dental, eye). MEDICAP ONLY CONTRIBUTES TO WHAT MEDICARE ALREADY ALLOWS. A Medigap insurance plan is around $250 a month, although if you want to go the HMO route, there are a few lower, and some are up around $500 A MONTH.

Now, add in the Rx. Medicare Part D covers a small amount, then nothing until you reach "catastrophic" coverage needs. So, you can pay a premium to cover a small amount of meds on the chance that you MIGHT need meds later, or you can try to find a plan that will cover your meds if you are ALREADY at catastrophic leves (i.e., you already know you will zip past the donut hole and into full coverage). Insurance companies don't want to cover a known loss.

So, if you are LUCKY enough to have SSI and Medicare, you will need ALL the SSI check to cover the Medicare/Medigap/PlanD, plus some.

One more thing, it is easy to plan for living on your own invested retirement. It is quite another to actually have to start withdrawing money to pay expenses once you've retired. We never had a GOAL to retire at 40, but it happened. It's good, but not as easy as it sounds.

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