Seniors spend an estimated $6,668 per year on health care, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s the second-biggest expense for those aged 65 and older, and without adequate senior health insurance, medical costs can quickly become unaffordable.
For seniors in Ohio, it’s important to understand your health insurance options and whether you qualify for senior health insurance.
What is Ohio Senior Health Insurance?
In Ohio, qualifying seniors can apply for Medicare, a federal medical insurance program for those aged 65 and older. This insurance program helps cover the cost of medical care, including routine doctor visits.
With Medicare, you have two main options:
Original Medicare includes:
• Part A: Hospital insurance that helps cover the cost of hospital care, hospice care, care in a skilled nursing facility and home health care.
• Part B: Medical insurance that helps cover the cost of doctor visits, outpatient care, medical equipment, preventive services and even home health care.
With Original Medicare, you can choose to join Part D, which is a drug plan that can help to cover the cost of prescriptions. You can also see any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare anywhere in the country.
Medicare has out-of-pocket costs, like 20% coinsurance. To help with these costs, there is Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance) or coverage from a former union or employer.
Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part C, is a plan provided by a private third-party and serves as an alternative to Original Medicare. These are bundled plans that typically include:
• Part A coverage
• Part B coverage
• Part D coverage
Although these plans may have lower out-of-pocket costs compared to Original Medicare, you will likely need to use doctors and hospitals within the plan’s network. However, Medicare Advantage may also cover some things that Original Medicare does not cover, such as:
• Dental services
The Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP)
It can be challenging to choose the right senior health insurance option for you. The Ohio Senior Health Insurance Program, or OSHIIP, provides Medicare beneficiaries with unbiased and free:
• Health insurance information
• Education about long-term care insurance, Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, part D and supplement insurance options.
• One-on-one counseling.
OSHIIP has helped more than 435,000 Ohioans and saved them more than $32 million in health insurance costs.
Do You Qualify for Senior Health Insurance?
Medicare is available to all seniors aged 65 or older. You can sign up for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday.
To qualify for senior health insurance, you must also be a U.S. citizen or have been a legal resident of the country for at least five years.
Individuals under the age of 65 may also qualify for Medicare in certain circumstances, such as receiving a disability pension from the Railroad Retirement Board, suffering from certain medical conditions or having permanent kidney failure.
Senior health insurance helps cover the cost of major medical expenses, routine doctor visits and, in some cases, long-term care. If you’re unsure whether you qualify for coverage or want to learn more about your options, OSHIIP can help.