Many want their parents to come to the United States and enjoy life here, getting the best quality medical services. However, they also have to think about the various medical expenses. So what’s life like in the U.S. after retirement? How do you make the best plan for your future?


1. Social Security and Retirement Plans

According to the statistics, 90% of those who retire receive Social Security benefits that come from the Social Security taxes they paid while they worked. You only have to work 10 years (40 credits) to be eligible for Social Security benefits. The amount of benefits is based on the amount of Social Security tax you paid while you were working, but overall, the amount is not high.

In 2016, the monthly average of Social Security benefits that Americans receive is a little over $1,200. The private companies’ 401K plan, IRA savings account, and the finances from real estate income are also other sources of money after retirement.

According to the AARP, 62.2% of the retired individuals in Asian communities depend on Social Security for their living expenses, receiving about $14,500-$19,500 a year. 401K and IRA is another way to get money when you retire but if you don’t have it and didn’t start saving early enough, then you will have less money to spend. Your retirement won’t be as amazing as you might have expected. (Look here! Find out how to use IRA to deposit and save for retirement.)

2. Health Insurance and Medicare

In the U.S., those who turn 65 can apply for their own insurance, also known as Medicare. This was implemented by the government solely for the purpose of helping out the elderly, those with disabilities, and chronically ill patients.

Because the Medicare card has a red and blue striped design, many Chinese individuals like to call it the “red blue card.” Medicare benefits include: Part A- Hospital Insurance, Part B- Medical Insurance, Part C- Medicare Advantage Plans, and Part D- Prescription Drug Insurance.

Since Part A and Part B are required by the government, you will get fined if you don’t have it. It is recommended to consult a professional health care planner to decide whether you need Part C and Part D based on your medical needs. Those who are constantly taking medication must pay special attention to these.

If you’ve worked in the U.S. for 10 years and have been paying social security tax then part of Part A is free and Part B would cost around $137 a month in 2017. The cost of Part C and Part D would vary depending on the program chosen. (Learn more about Medicare and how to apply)

Many immigrant families face a common problem… they haven’t worked 10 years yet and their parents are already over 65… what do they do? If you are 65 and worked less than 10 years, then you will still be able to participate in Medicare, it’s just that Part A won’t be free and the cost will be pretty high.

For new immigrants, even if you are older than 65, you have to wait five consecutive years living in the US before you can apply for Medicare. Medicaid (also known as Medi-Cal in California) has also become the choice for many new elderly immigrants since you don’t have to pay premiums. As long as you have your green card and get approved, you will qualify for Medicare.




Medicare Open Enrollment Period ends on December 7. If you have any questions, feel free to talk to a certified insurance agent at KCAL Insurance Agency and chat with us online here.


3. Senior Apartments and Nursing Homes


Senior apartments in the U.S. are different than traditional ones we know back in China. It is more like a recreation center. Those who live in luxurious, senior apartments have many organized events such as lectures, concerts, performances, book clubs, exhibitions, community service, and more.

There are also senior apartments funded by the government for those who are on a budget. Senior apartments only accept those who are able to take care of themselves with assistance and can live by themselves.

For those who require medical assistance, they would have to go to a nursing home. Some costs of nursing homes are covered by Medicare.


4. $3 Fee to Attend University


The Senior Citizen Education Program allows California residents over 60 years of age to enroll at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) for only $3 a semester. Regular admission standards apply, including the submitting applications process, completing credits, maintaining good academic standing, abiding by university policies, procedures, deadlines, and more! Going back to college is a good way to live retirement life!


5. Discounts in Daily Life


Auto insurance: Many insurance companies provide discounts for those over 50, calling it the Mature Driver Discount. There’s also a discount on Low-Mileagehelping those who don’t drive to work very often. To participate in a Mature Driver course, join the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to receive even more discounts.

National Parks free for life: Yay! Once you turn 62, you can spend $10 to get a national park senior pass and be able to go to more than 2,000 national parks for free!

Trains, buses, car rentals, hotels, movies, phone calls, and basically anything you can think of, there are all kinds of discounts! If you have an elderly member in the family, you can really save a lot of money!


It is currently the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, and the deadline is December 7.  If you or your parents have Medicare, make sure to seize the opportunity and examine whether or not it meets their medical needs. If you miss this deadline, you’ll have to wait another year. If you have any questions, feel free to talk to a certified insurance agent at KCAL Insurance Agency and chat with us online here.