Bills blinded? 7 Unexpected health care expenses in retirement (and how to plan for them)

Retirement should be a time where you can relax and enjoy life. But health care costs can be stressful when they cause you to exceed your budget.

TD Bank breaks down seven common and unexpected retirement health care expenses you may not have thought about. With careful planning, copayments and services not covered by your insurance don’t have to come as a surprise.

Perhaps the most important information you need to know can be found at, the website for the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older. In addition, you can take steps to prepare financially so that your retirement years are truly golden.

Over-the-counter supplements

Many doctors today routinely recommend taking over-the-counter supplements to address certain issues. Although Medicare Part B may pay for supplements in some cases, only certain ones are covered. A diagnosis of a specific medical condition is also required. If your doctor recommends supplements as part of your treatment plan or for general wellness, you may pay for them yourself.

Eye care

It’s normal to experience vision changes as you age, and an eye exam is recommended for everyone at least every two years for those ages 65 and older. Although Medicare Part B may cover eye exams for certain eye-related diseases and injuries, routine eye exams are not covered. Prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses are also not covered. If you need corrective lenses, a vision insurance policy can be purchased to help you with this cost.

Dental visits

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums isn’t just about having a beautiful smile. Poor dental health can contribute to many medical issues including heart disease, pneumonia, endocarditis, and more.

Regular dental exams and cleanings are recommended every six months. Unfortunately, these dental visits and any dental repairs you may need are not covered by Medicare. A dental insurance policy can be purchased that covers any part or all of these services.

Therapy services

Sometimes therapy services are needed to help people fully recover from an injury or illness. Physical or occupational therapy may be needed, for example, after recovering from a fall. And speech therapy is often used to help recover from a stroke. If you need therapy services and they are considered medically necessary, you likely have a 20% copayment if you have met your Medicare Part B deductible.

Doctor visits

Doctor visits in your retirement years may be more frequent than when you were younger. In addition to visiting your primary care provider, you may also be referred to specialists for additional consultations and treatments.

Medicare Part B typically covers 80% of doctor visits after you meet your deductible. Copayment costs can add up quickly, however, if follow-up appointments are needed. A Medigap supplemental insurance policy can be purchased to help you with doctor visit copayments and other expenses related to your health care in retirement.

Prescription medication

The cost of monthly prescription drugs can be a huge expense without coverage. Although Medicare Parts A and B do not cover prescription drugs, a prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D) can be added for a monthly premium. Prescriptions purchased through Medicare Part D require a deductible and copay.

Medical devices

Medicare Part B may cover certain medically necessary supplies and equipment used in the home including:

  • Wheelchairs
  • Hospital beds
  • Oxygen equipment
  • Blood sugar meters and test strips
  • Other equipment

There may be additional costs, however, for supplies used to increase comfort or convenience such as air humidifiers, stair lifts, and grab bars. And don’t forget, common medical supplies like bandages and gauze are not covered by Medicare.

This story was made by TD Bank and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.

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