3 Expenses Medicare Won’t Cover That You Can Buy at Costco for Less

There are certain essential services and products that Medicare won't pay for. Read on to see how a Costco membership might make those less expensive. Read More...

A good 67 million people are enrolled in Medicare today. And without it, many older Americans would no doubt struggle to find affordable health coverage in retirement.

But Medicare isn’t perfect — far from it. Not only are there numerous out-of-pocket costs involved, like copays and deductibles, but there are a number of essential services that Medicare doesn’t cover.

That’s why it could pay to get a Costco membership as a Medicare enrollee. Here are three things you can buy for less at Costco that Medicare itself won’t pay for.

1. Eye exams and eyeglasses

Many seniors need glasses for distance, reading, or both. Unfortunately, Medicare won’t cover the cost of vision services, like eye exams and eyeglasses. So if you’re trying to save money on those things, it could pay to turn to Costco.

Costco’s optical department employs licensed optometrists who can check your vision and recommend changes to your current prescription, if needed. You can also buy affordable eyeglasses and, if desired, contact lenses through Costco’s optical center. Getting an eye exam at Costco could save you $120 compared to going elsewhere if you don’t have vision insurance, or if you’re a Medicare enrollee without vision coverage.

2. Hearing aids

It’s not uncommon for seniors to need a hearing boost to be able to function. But just as Medicare won’t pay for eyeglasses, it also won’t cover the cost of hearing aids.

Costco’s hearing aid centers, thankfully, offer affordable screenings and a wide range of hearing aid options. Prescription Costco hearing aid prices commonly range from $1,499 to $1,599 per pair, which the National Council on Aging says falls on the lower end of the spectrum for many hearing aid brands. Plus, when you buy hearing aids through Costco, you’re eligible for free adjustments as needed from the comfort of your own home, since many of today’s hearing aids are designed so that they can be adjusted remotely.

3. Vitamins and supplements

While a Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan will commonly cover the cost of prescription drugs to some degree, Medicare plans usually will not pick up the tab for over-the-counter vitamins and supplements. But it’s pretty common for doctors to recommend these pills for seniors to help maintain joint and bone health.

Thankfully, Costco sells a host of vitamins and supplements in bulk, allowing you to pay a lower price per pill than you might pay at another store. For example, you can buy 500 calcium tablets on Costco.com for a cost of $0.03 per tablet (and Costco’s in-store prices are usually even cheaper than its online prices). On Amazon, you’re looking at $0.08 per pill. When you’re on a fixed income, this kind of savings can really add up.

Shopping at Costco offers a world of savings for members of all ages. It pays to explore the benefits you might reap at Costco as a Medicare enrollee, especially if you’re struggling to cover the cost of the services and products you need that Medicare doesn’t pay for.

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