Healthcare Costs Can Be a Major Concern for Vets
When you separate from service, one of the hardest things to get used to is managing your own health care. A benefit that was once freely provided to you is suddenly not so certain, and many senior veterans may be worried about rising healthcare costs and whether their finances will be impacted. With out-of-pocket expenses for seniors averaging around $285,000 and expected to climb, worrying about the cost of healthcare makes perfect sense.
If you want to leave those concerns behind, however, you can do so by taking a closer look at your healthcare benefits and coverage. For example, if your VA benefits are not meeting your needs, you can look into whether expanding your Medicare coverage could help offset any stressed or financial concerns. With Humana Medicare Advantage plans, for instance, you may be able to access additional care for vision and dental exams that can help save you money. This can be a helpful option for vets who do not have access to VA health centers since there are still some serious concerns over the effectiveness of VA community care options.
Other Living Expenses Can Result in Stress for Veterans
With Medicare and VA benefits, paying for healthcare can be less stressful for many veterans. Paying for other monthly expenses, like food, clothing, and housing, can be more difficult for senior veterans, especially since the average retiree spends around $3,400 each month on these costs. Mortgage payments and rent can make up the majority of monthly expenses for retired senior veterans, which is where housing assistance programs can provide some relief. If you are struggling to pay for housing, applying for these grants and funds can make life easier and can also supplement any GI benefits you are using for living expenses. Still, the VA and associated programs are notorious for being plagued by technical issues and other problems that can delay benefit payments for veterans. To ensure that you are able to weather these delays and not be severely affected, you should try to create an emergency savings fund, if possible, which should ideally include enough to cover three months’ worth of expenses.
During active duty, you likely had to plan for and discuss your end-of-life wishes and arrangements at some point. As a veteran, communicating your wishes for final arrangements for your loved ones is still practical, but it can also help reduce some of the financial burden around those arrangements. If you’ve never talked to your family about end-of-life issues before, this can be a difficult conversation to have, so try to bring up the topic when everyone involved can be calm and in control of their emotions. Part of this conversation should also involve long-term care costs and any VA benefits that are available to help you afford long-term care, if you should need care towards the end of your life.
There’s so much more involved in developing a solid financial plan to support your quality of life as a senior veteran. With the tips above, however, hopefully you can answer some of the most pressing financial questions and resolve some of the most common sources of financial stress. Doing so can not only give you some peace of mind, but it can also take some pressure off of your family and ensure that everyone is better prepared for whatever the future may hold.
Contributor: Jim McKinley
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