Medical treatment can be expensive, especially for aging adults. As your parents advance in age, it’s important to begin to financially prepare so that you can assist them with their finances and make sure that they receive the medical treatment they need.
There are numerous ways to make sure that you’re prepared to take care of their medical needs from a financial point of view. Use these money management tips to help.
Stick to a Budget
As your parents age, they may not always have the money that they need to handle their own medical expenses, especially if they’re on a fixed income. Stick to a budget, and include line items to assist them with medication copays and doctor’s visits. This can help make sure that you have the money available to help them with these expenses when they arise.
Learn About Your Parent’s Health Insurance Policy
Spend some time learning about your parent’s health insurance, whether they have private insurance, Medicare, or both. Medicare is a federal insurance program in the United States to help people 65 and older, as well as those with a disability or illness. This program may be able to assist with some of their medical expenses, like covering doctor’s visits or prescription medication, but it’s important to take the time to learn about what coverage your parent is eligible for.
Look Into Home Healthcare Options and Tax Deductions
Around 29% of adults in the United States take five or more medications. Medication management can be quite difficult for older adults, and a medication error can cause a serious health issue. A home healthcare professional can help make sure that your parent is taking their medications safely and correctly, and their fee may be at least partially covered by medical insurance.
You can also choose to be your parent’s caregiver. It’s worth investigating whether you can earn money and/or obtain tax deductions by choosing this lifestyle. It can save you quite a bit of money over the course of a year if you’d prefer to take care of your parent over a home health aide or nurse.
Find Programs That Can Help Cut Costs
Spend some time researching programs in your area that benefit seniors. You may be able to find discounted medical care, doctor’s offices that reduce rates if you pay in cash, or prescription discount cards. Be sure to ask your parent’s doctors about these programs as well, as they may have a better idea about what’s available in the area. If several of their patients are elderly, they may have a list of resources to assist elderly patients on a budget.
Have Backup Savings For Unforeseeable Circumstances
Set aside money each paycheck, if possible, for unforeseen circumstances. You never know what medical issues may arise as your parents age, and an accident or illness can happen quite quickly. For example, each year, somewhere between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease in the United States, and over one million individuals are diagnosed with cancer.
Elderly patients are also more prone to injuries from falls, contracting viral diseases, and complications during more simple illnesses like the flu. Having backup savings on hand can help make sure that you’re prepared to assist your parent if any type of medical crisis occurs.
Taking care of your aging parent’s medical needs can be a strain on the budget, especially if you’re unprepared. As your parent ages, it makes sound financial sense to begin to set money aside so that you have funds on hand to help them with medical expenses. You may need to plan for a sudden hospitalization, assisting them with prescription medication costs, or helping them understand and utilize their insurance. Spending some time familiarizing yourself with their medical coverage and their financial needs can help make the process go more smoothly.