Retirement costs are soaring! Medicare Freebies


Retirement costs are soaring!


Higher than anticipated costs, plus taxes are throwing off most Baby Boomers spending patterns especially in Michigan…many are rethinking their budgets and some are thinking of moving to lower cost states or even becoming expatriates. Indeed, during the past seven years, with the exception of one year, more people have left the United States than came here reports government agencies [this does not factor in illegal immigration].


Some 43% of retirees over age 63 say health-care costs consume more of their budget than they anticipated. Taxes are also taking a large bite out of Boomers’ budgets, with 30% being taxed more than they expected.  Even travel, the most popular perk of retirement, is costing more than many anticipated: 35% are taking fewer trips.


Experts say retirees can offset budget surprises somewhat by checking and minimizing fees charged on investments, diversifying portfolios and steps to cut living costs by moving to low tax states and opting out of certain health insurance plans and using off-shore medical services or concierge style medical services [even if you’re on Medicare] which include doctors who accept cash at a discount, urgent care systems and more [Source: Citizens Council for Health Freedom].


Another way to search for low-cost medical services in your area is through Healthcare Bluebook: 888-866-8159 or at their site:

By doing a bluebook search for your area, you can determine what a fair price is for a needed medical procedure before you go to a clinic or hospital.


Your Money & Your Life

Just a reminder that January is a perfect time to give your finances an annual physical. You’ll be getting year-end statements from all your major financial accounts (mortgage, brokerage, credit cards, etc.). It doesn’t take long to do a few calculations to see how healthy your finances are. One top-level test is to calculate your net worth. Net worth is basically a listing of all your assets and liabilities. Ideally, your net worth is positive and grows each year. For more details, read What’s Your Net Worth? If your net worth is in the negative, it’s time to get serious about fixing your finances. Even a positive net worth can be a warning sign if it’s less than you should have saved by this time in your life. To get a feel for how much you should have saved at any given age, check out this article from


30 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Catching the Flu

We are currently in the midst of a particularly deadly flu season. If you haven’t fallen ill yet, keep your fingers crossed and your hands washed because this year’s strain is one you don’t want to catch. It has killed approximately 100 people per week since early December.

In addition to washing your hands frequently, this post from The Organic Prepper lists 29 other ways to reduce your risk of contracting the flu. Plus, there’s a link to their Flu Survival Guide if you or loved one does get sick.

This preventative advice is especially valuable to share with young children and the elderly as well as those with compromised immune systems. As this year’s virus spreads, these vulnerable populations are in the greatest danger.


Medicare freebies

Under Original Medicare, the following services are free to all beneficiaries:

  1. “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit (includes a review of your medical and social history related to your health and education, and counseling about various preventive services)
  2. Annual “Wellness” visits (includes developing or updating a personalized prevention help plan)
  3. Annual behavioral therapy visit for cardiovascular disease, which is to help you lower your risk for cardiovascular disease (heart-related conditions)
  4. Screening for cardiovascular disease (includes blood tests for cholesterol, lipid and triglyceride levels)
  5. Screening for depression
  6. Vaccination for the flu
  7. Vaccination for pneumococcal infections, which include certain types of pneumonia

Under Original Medicare, the following services are free to eligible beneficiaries. Eligibility varies by test but often involves being within a certain age range or having a higher risk for a medical condition.

  1. Vaccination for hepatitis B
  2. Bone density test
  3. Screening for diabetes
  4. Screening for hepatitis C
  5. Screening for HIV
  6. Screening for lung cancer
  7. Screening for colorectal cancer (can include a colonoscopy or other types of tests)
  8. Screening for prostate cancer (includes a prostate specific antigen, or PSA, blood test)
  9. Screening mammograms
  10. Screening and counseling for alcohol misuse
  11. Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (includes an ultrasound)
  12. Screening for cervical and vaginal cancers (includes Pap test, pelvic exam and breast exam)
  13. Screening and counseling for sexually transmitted infections
  14. Medical nutrition therapy
  15. Screening for obesity and counseling

Patients do not owe copays or other out-of-pocket costs for these services. However, before redeeming these freebies, know that they are free:

  • For folks with what’s known as Original Medicare. Costs might differ for people with Medicare Advantage plans, which are offered by private health insurers.
  • When obtained from a health care provider who “accepts assignment.” This is jargon that basically means the provider has signed an agreement accepting Medicare’s payment conditions.
  • When obtained at a certain frequency, which varies. For example, Medicare beneficiaries can get a free flu shot once every flu season but can only get a free screening for heart disease once every five years.
  • For folks who are eligible for them. Some Medicare freebies are available to all beneficiaries, but most freebies are available to folks in certain situations.


Thanks to Perfectus Elder for sharing this bit of humor…


>> “If it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it.” ~ Anonymous


Resource Roundup – Share with your friends!


Finding Senior Discounts
Senior discounts add up for baby boomers. Read more.