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Five categories of medical expenses that Medicare does not cover

Medicare provides insurance for retirees. While this may protect you from some of the costs of health care later in life, the program will not pay for all the health care you may need throughout your retirement period. And if you count on it, you will have big financial problems. Fool.

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If you're not sure what costs to expect, here are five common types of health care services. There is a good chance that Medicare will not be able to support you at all for some time before retirement.

1. Long term care

Long term care can cost thousands of dollars a month. While skilled nursing coverage is possible in very limited circumstances, Medicare will not help you pay for a nursing home or home care assistant if you are simply sick or older and need help with your day to day activities.

Saving enough funds for long-term care can be a lifelong prospect, so start planning as early as possible. If you are already approaching retirement or have already quit your job and do not have time to save for potential future bills at a nursing home, long term care insurance is worth considering. You can also talk with an estate planning attorney about whether you can put together a Medicaid plan to protect your assets — another government insurance that pays for a nursing home or long-term care needs.

2. Alternative treatments

Acupuncture and manual therapy are two common types of alternative therapies. It is very rare for Medicare to help pay bills for these services. If you rely on these services to stay healthy or manage age-related pain, you may need to pay for them yourself or have another plan to cover them.

Some Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans offer at least limited coverage for certain alternative therapies, so check your policy options during open enrollment. Signing up for an optional Medicare policy or choosing an Advantage plan over traditional Medicare may be the best way to get paid for your care.

On the subject: Millions of Insured Americans Can't Cope with Medical Costs

3. Dental care

Medicare pays for "medically necessary" dental treatment if it is required for another covered procedure, such as if you need to have a root canal treatment before you can get covered heart surgery. But in most cases, you are not at all lucky if you need any kind of dental services - from tooth extraction to prosthetics and even regular cleaning.

Dental care can cost several thousand dollars if something serious goes wrong, so put some money aside or consider purchasing an additional dental insurance plan. You can also find dental schools in your area that can provide discounted services.

4. Vision

If you need eye exams, glasses, or contact lenses, you may be surprised to find that Medicare will not help you pay for the usual services you need. Prices associated with vision exams and corrective lenses can be high, so you either need to prepare to pay or buy additional insurance to cover.

The good news is that you can often save a lot on glasses or contact lenses by shopping online. You may decide that it makes more sense to pay cash for an eye exam and buy discounted frames than buying special insurance coverage. But it's worth considering what is more profitable for you in the long term.

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5. Hearing Aids

Medicare does not cover hearing aids or the tests needed to fit them. It can be frustrating if you have hearing problems and have to pay big bucks to fix them. Hearing aids typically cost thousands of dollars, and some modern devices cost up to $ 10.

To make sure you can cover these costs, find out if Medicare Advantage might be a better fit than traditional Medicare. VA also provides hearing aid coverage for eligible veterans, and those without hearing aid coverage can save money by shopping online.

Most of these services - including glasses, hearing aids, and dental care - can eat up your savings if you expect Medicare to cover them, which you don't. Before retiring, make sure you understand the benefits and limitations of Medicare, choose your coverage carefully, and consider the cash costs you need to be prepared for. This way you can avoid unexpected medical expenses in retirement.

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