My daughter in high school recently discussed Social Security in a public policy class. I’m happy to say she was able to raise her hand and contribute to the discussion. She knew that health care for older adults is tied to Social Security. We should all be familiar with Social Security and Medicare and at least the basics of how they work. I know some very smart people who don’t. They are considered “entitlements” because people are categorically eligible based on age in the case of Social Security and Medicare.
Here are 4 reasons why we need to understand Social Security and Medicare:
1. These benefits are currently in jeopardy for political reasons, specifically, Speaker Ryan would like to cut entitlements to pay for the massive corporate tax cuts.
2. If you have worked on the US, you are likely eligible for Medicare when you turn 65. It will likely be your primary payer source for health care, although Medicare does not pay for long term care. Medicare also does not pay 100% of costs. Almost ALL employers do NOT provide health care as a retirement benefit.
3. If you or a spouse or parent needs long term care and don’t have insurance for it, long term car costs roughly 100,000 a year for no and 50k a year for home care. If you can’t afford this or run out of assets, you will need to rely on Medicaid.
4. Changes to Medicare and Social Security could have devastating impact on older people in the U.S., which is all of us eventually.
Please help me to fight changes to our entitlement programs for older adults and people with disabilities. Understanding the basics is a first step.