While we all expect that Medicare will cover a significant portion of our healthcare needs after age 65, the program actually does not offer coverage for everything you might need. The following seven services are not covered by Medicare Parts A or B, so in the event that you need them, you must make a plan to pay for them yourself.
Certain types of eye care. Medicare does cover ophthalmic care such as cataract surgery. But Original Medicare does not pay for routine vision exams, glasses, or contact lenses. Some Medicare Advantage plans do cover these items, or you can seek a supplemental vision plan.
Hearing aids. Original Medicare will usually cover care for health-related conditions that affect the ears but does not pay for routine hearing exams or hearing aids. Some Advantage plans do provide this service. Congress recently approved legislation that allows certain types of hearing aids to be sold over-the-counter.
Dental care. Original Medicare does not cover dental exams and procedures such as filing cavities or root canals. Dentures are also not covered. However, some Advantage plans do offer dental care. Supplemental dental plans are an option for those on Original Medicare.
Podiatry. Certain types of podiatry, like removal of calluses, are not covered by Medicare. However, Medicare does cover foot injuries, conditions like hammer toe and bunions, and treatment related to diabetes.
Cosmetic surgery. Elective cosmetic surgery is not covered by Medicare, but the program will usually pay for the cost of reconstructive surgery related to an accidental injury.
Overseas medical care. Both Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans generally lack coverage for medical care outside of the United States. If you travel frequently, consider a Medigap policy.
Long-term nursing care. Medicare offers coverage for limited stays in rehabilitation facilities. But if you need to move to a nursing home or assisted living facility in the long term, you must find some other way to cover that expense.
Understanding the limitations of your Medicare plan is just as important as learning about the benefits. Plan for these uncovered expenses within the context of your overall retirement income plan, so that you won’t be caught off-guard with surprise expenses.