A lot of people assume that you simply start to receive Medicare at the same time you become eligible for Social Security, but this is not accurate. Age of eligibility for full Social Security benefits varies depending on the year you were born in. For people who were born between 1943 and 1954 it is 66 years of age. After that it goes up by two months per year until 1960. People who were born in 1960 and later become eligible for Social Security in full when they reach the age of 67. Medicare on the other hand is available once you reach the age of 65 regardless of when you were born.
It is important to understand the fact that Medicare does not cover everything, and one of the things that it does not pay for is long-term care. The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 70% of senior citizens will someday need this type of care so it is something to take seriously. Medicaid will cover long-term care if you can qualify, but you cannot have more than $2,000 in countable assets. But, many people choose to “spend down” their assets in an effort to qualify for Medicaid, and this is more feasible than it may sound like on the surface because your house, your car, and your personal property does not count. Plus, your spouse can keep his or her half of the countable assets without affecting your Medicaid eligibility.
Developing a cogent health care strategy for your retirement years can be complex due to the intricacies of these health care resources, and it will probably only get more complicated going forward. The best way to be certain that you are optimally prepared is to consult with an experienced elder law attorney who will assist you as you make plans for health care during your retirement years.