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$104.90 monthly premium (although higher-income people pay more). There's a $147 yearly deductible, after which you're responsible for 20 percent of Medicare-approved service amounts, provided the doctor/provider accepts Medicare. Note: There's no annual limit for out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare Part C (Advantage) plans are offered by private insurers as alternatives to Parts A and B. They're usually structured like HMO or PPO plans. Most cover prescription drugs (so Part D is unnecessary) and some also provide dental and vision coverage. You must use the plan's doctor, hospital and pharmacy provider networks, which are more restrictive than under Parts A and B. Advantage plan costs vary considerably, based on factors such as annual out-ofpocket maximums, monthly premiums, copayments and covered medications. Some Advantage plans cost no more than Part B, while others have a higher premium (to account for drug and other additional coverage). Medicare Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. It's optional and carries a monthly premium. These privately run plans vary widely in terms of cost, copayments and deductibles and medications covered. The 2014 national average monthly premium is about $32, although plans can cost up to $175 a month. Plus, higher-income people pay an additional surcharge. You may not find a plan that covers all your medications, but aim for one that at least covers the most expensive drugs. Use the Medicare Plan Finder at www. medicare.gov to compare Part D and Advantage plans in your area. To learn more about how Medicare works and what it does and doesn't cover, read "Medicare & You 2014" at the same website. Bottom line: Even though Medicare does pay a significant portion of retiree medical care, make sure that when you're budgeting for retirement you take into account the many out-of-pocket expenses you're likely to encounter. Jason Alderman directs Visa's financial education programs. To Follow Jason on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ PracticalMoney. The Best Of Times

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Thebestoftimesdec2014  

The December 2014 issue of The Best of Times features the wonderful world of model trains. It also includes columns on finance, senior legal...

Thebestoftimesdec2014  

The December 2014 issue of The Best of Times features the wonderful world of model trains. It also includes columns on finance, senior legal...

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