L yndon Thomas Insurance
THE RIGHTSIZING RETIREMENT REVOLUTION Are You Financially Prepared to Leave the Workforce?
Ambulance Bills Can Cause an Emergency!
A recent Google consumer survey reported that almost 50 percent of the baby boomer generation has less than $1,000 in their savings accounts. What’s more, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, the average boomer has a nest egg of about $8,178 per year for a 20-year retirement, and 41 percent of the generation has no retirement savings whatsoever. But, despite these troubling statistics, retirement is feasible for nearly all of us. It just requires a bit of “rightsizing.” As opposed to downsizing, rightsizing implies that you’re moving into a monetary space that’s right for you, rather than sacrificing aspects of your life for something cheaper. With rightsizing, nothing matters more to the financial success of your retirement, regardless of the breadth of your budget, than carefully managing your spending. Seems obvious, right? But according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute report, 46 percent of retirees actually increase their spending after leaving the workforce. In order to prepare for retirement, you need to be start living below your means as soon as possible and develop habits that will last until long after you’ve left the workforce. And no, this certainly doesn’t have to be as grim a process as it sounds. You don’t need to give up the things you love to do or purchase. It simply means taking a hard look at your surroundings, your possessions, and your spending. Are you sticking around in a house much larger than you need, simply because it’s full of old stuff? It might be time to jettison the junk lying around and give your mind — and your budget — some wiggle room. What do you actually need in your life? And how much of your spending is simply to impress others? These are tough questions, but if you want to have a fulfilling, 20-year retirement, they’re absolutely essential things to consider. If you really want to zero in on your expenses, use an app like Mint or iFinance that imports your banking data and organizes your spending by category. You’ll definitely find at least one surprise on your spending pie chart. It’s vital that you acknowledge that your happiness has nothing to do with your stuff. This fact will only be thrown into sharper relief as you age. After all, you can’t take a high-end coffee maker or fancy curtains with you when you pass. Trim your life down to the essentials and live with the comfort that you’ll retire with money to spare.
Every once in a while, I hear a disturbing story from a Medicare beneficiary. After an emergency ambulance ride, they got a bill for the full amount. I’ve heard of bills of $2,000 or more! But if you have Medicare, you do not pay the full amount! In fact, depending on the type of Medicare-related insurance you have, you will have a much smaller copay or even owe nothing at all! Why would someone get a bill for the full amount? Because, most likely, the EMT staff did not get your insurance information at the time of service. Think about it; it wouldn’t look very good if the EMT said, “Now hold it! Before we can take you to the hospital, we have to get your insurance information!” However, they do have your name and address. So, you get the bill for the full amount. MEDICARE ONLY You are responsible for 20 percent of the bill after you pay the annual deductible ($183 in 2018). Action to take: Pay the 20 percent. MEDICARE PLUS SUPPLEMENT Supplement F pays the annual deductible and the 20 percent. You pay nothing. Supplements G and N pay the full balance of the ambulance bill after you pay the annual deductible. Action to take: Send your Medicare and supplement information to the ambulance company to bill Medicare. MEDICARE ADVANTAGE You pay only the emergency transportation/ambulance copay for the plan of which you are a member. Action to take: Pay the copay to the provider, along with sending insurance information. If need be, call the Health Plan Member Service number on your ID card and ask them to take care of it from there. Having to take a ride in the ambulance is bad enough. Don’t pay more than you need to! If you have questions about this or other Medicare-related questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. Here is the important part: You are responsible only for a portion of the full amount based on how you are using Medicare:
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