elderly man getting eye exam for cataracts

What to Expect: Seeing Your Way Through Cataracts Surgery

No one ever claimed that getting older would be fun. And while the many technological advancements in medicine can’t solve everything related to aging, it can help restore vision loss due to cataracts.

What are Cataracts?

According to All About Vision, “A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye, causing vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or corneal refractive surgery like LASIK.” While this may sound serious, cataracts are considered common. By the age of 60, more than half of American seniors will be diagnosed with one.

As our eyes age, our lenses become thicker and increasingly opaque. In some cases, the lens may begin to break down, causing a cloudiness and eventually forming into a cataract. While there are other risk factors that can increase your chances of developing cataracts, the development is most often attributed to age.

In 2015, it was estimated that more than 3.6 million cataract surgeries would be performed in the U.S., and more than 20 million worldwide. Because the development of cataracts has become so common, cataracts surgery has become accepted as a fairly normal part of aging.

What to Expect

If you have cataracts, chances are you and your eye doctor have already been aware of it for some time. Cataracts need to progress to a certain point before they become medically necessary to remove. Once this happens, you and your doctor will schedule a date for a pre-op appointment and surgery.

While the surgery only typically takes approximately ten minutes to perform, the in-office recovery time can take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour before you can be driven home. Your eye doctor will often send you home with an eye patch, some medicated drops, and a list of activities to avoid until you recover.

Some of these activities may include:

  • Strenuous activity (exercise, lifting anything over 25 lbs)
  • Bending down
  • Getting water in your eyes
  • Exposing your eye to dust or contaminants

Strict adherence to your doctor’s after-care instructions is essential to a full recovery.

Unforeseen Costs

If your doctor considers the surgery medically necessary, Medicare will typically cover most of the cost of the surgery, the pre-surgical exam, and any follow-up care you may require. But Medicare enrollees will still be responsible for meeting their deductible and paying a coinsurance of 20 percent out of pocket. For many seniors living on a fixed income, paying for what Medicare doesn’t can be difficult.

Fortunately, there is Medicare supplement insurance. If you or someone you love is approaching the age of 65, a Medicare supplemental insurance policy (otherwise known as a Medigap policy) can help fill in the financial gaps.

To learn more about the medicare supplement insurance available to you as an association member, please visit https://memberbenefits.com/individuals/medicare/ today.

elderly man wearing eyeglasses and magnifying glass sitting at work bench tinkering with tools

What Medicare Supplemental Insurance Can Do That Medicare Can Not

Getting older is never any fun passed the age of 21. But oftentimes with age comes maturity, experience, and perspective. And by the time you find yourself approaching the golden age of 65, you’re probably able to look back at your earlier years and note a few things you wish you had done differently—drink less alcohol, quit smoking earlier, save more money and spend it wiser; invest more time with the people you love, and in taking care of yourself.

Don’t put taking good care of yourself on the backburner anymore.

elderly man surrounded by happy family blowing out birthday candlesMaking Sure Your “Golden Years” Are Golden

Throughout our lives, there are a number of birthday milestones that stand out— one, 13, 16, 18, 21, 40, 65, and if you’re lucky, many more beyond that. Each of these years has their own reasons for being special, but few birthdays carry the same significance that turning 65 does.

Beginning three months prior to your 65th birthday, you become eligible for a seven-month open enrollment period where you can enroll in Medicare benefits. If you miss your initial open enrollment period, you will still become eligible again during the general open enrollment period which begins January 1st and ends March 31st, with coverage beginning July 1st.

According to a Money Crashers article written by Michael Lewis, “There is a direct correlation between healthcare costs and age: The older you are, the more likely it is that you will need medical care. The elderly are more apt to suffer chronic conditions that require treatment for years, and accidents are more common, often requiring complicated treatment. As a consequence of the high healthcare costs for older Americans, private insurers prior to 1965 either did not offer health insurance to the elderly, or charged such high premiums that insurance was not affordable. Medicare was created to solve a human welfare crisis that threatened to unravel the social and economic fabric of the nation.”

The truth is, that while highly beneficial, Medicare Part A and Part B may not necessarily cover everything you may need as you get older. A prime example of this is the often-cited fact that Medicare does not cover basic eye health, most forms of dental care, and hearing aids. And while many may be under the impression that they won’t need something like a Long-Term Care Insurance policy because Medicare will cover the costs, unfortunately, it won’t because while Medicare Part A will cover care in a nursing home, it will not cover custodial care meaning, the activities of daily living such as getting dressed, bathing, eating, etc).

Investing In Your Health With Medicare Supplemental Insurance

A Medicare Supplemental Insurance policy can help you fill in the gaps left behind between the services and care that you need and the services and care that Medicare is willing to pay for.

If you or a loved one is approaching the age of 65, it may be wise to discuss with your doctor if all of your medical needs will be covered by Medicare. Oftentimes, people assume that Medicare will cover them no matter what and ultimately find out otherwise. In order to avoid any surprises, it is always wise to consult with your primary care physician about your individual health needs now and any that you may be at risk of developing in the future.

For more information regarding Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) and what it can do for you or someone you love, please visit your association page.