Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Kassia

Medical/Dental Insurance when retiring

Recommended Posts

DH would like to retire soon.  He feels confident we'll be fine financially but we don't know anything about finding health/dental insurance on our own.  Does anyone have any experience or suggestions?  We have no idea how much it will cost or where to start looking. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's an online marketplace for medical insurance, hopefully people who have used it will chime in with details.

For dental insurance, if you're not getting a group plan or subsidized rate you might be better off just setting some money aside in savings and paying out of pocket. Ask the dentist for a cash discount.

Edited by maize
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I was shopping for health insurance, I would find an independent agent to help me.  I agree about the dental thing.  Most private dental insurance doesn't cover much of the cost of dental work.  My dentist offers cash discounts.

I have a friend from church who retired from a large company after 30+ years.  He is only 59, so he has six more years until Medicare kicks in.  He decided to work at Starbucks, twenty hours a week, to get his medical insurance.  And he LOVES it!  Very low stress, he says.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some employers allow retired employees to buy family insurance coverage through the employer at group rates, but not subsidized.  The employee could be included as part of the family coverage depending on age.

Edited by TrixieB
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can speak to this, to some degree.  DH retired 15 or so years before hitting Medicare a couple of years ago.

FIRST:  I would talk to an independent representative in your state.  Each STATE has different offerings and rules and pricing.  When we bought our insurance, our state had been under the influence of a particularly inept insurance commissioner and so we had like 2 choices and an HMO.  Lack of competition + nanny state = higher prices.  Had we lived in our FORMER state, we would have had multiple providers to choose among, with fewer legal requirements, so we would have paid about half for the same coverage.

In the end, and ever since, we went with HEALTH INSURANCE, not health care coverage.  Why?

  • We are relatively healthy and at the time had no ongoing medical issues with associated costs
  • A lot of the health care were use is not covered by health-care coverage anyway, and if there is coverage, there are co-pays.

We opted to have catastrophic coverage, which has a $10K deductible and is largely cash-pay until then.  I did the math, and have done so every year, and we have never come close to paying out of pocket what we would have paid with health care coverage.  That is true for the year I broke my arm, and for the year I had 3 surgeries, 2 under general anesthesia...but I have to admit--we came close that time.

Here's the math for our current situation--for health insurance, I pay $500 a month for me and my 23yo son.  We have a $10,000 deductible.  We get some benefits, like 10 half-price chiropractor visits, a colonoscopy every 5 years, 10 counseling visits half paid, and an annual physical, 100% covered.  There are also some prescription benefits with this. I use alternative care which I pay for out of pocket.  

In contrast, the lowest-cost health care coverage would be $1400 a month with almost the same benefits and a $6000 deductible.  I would still pay for the alternative health care; that's not covered.  

So, the math on the face of it is this:  12 x $500=$6000.  12 X $1,400=$16,800.  The delta is $10,800.  I can buy a whole lot of health care for that amount of money.  And if the whole amount is spent on me, I've met my deductible and the coverage after that is very good...about the same as I would pay for the other insurance...

Most years I have saved at least $6,000 going with Health Insurance.  The year I had three surgeries, I was still about $1,000 to the good.  

This only works because we are relatively healthy.  

DH has developed a condition that needs expensive meds.  Were he still on our plan, we would be so screwed.  That said, not that many insurers cover the cost of his meds, so we would be screwed anyway, even with the health-care coverage.  As it is, he has had to find the Medicare insurer that covers the meds...and it is still going to take $5,000 out of our pockets...if he does this protocol.  

My point in rattling on about this is that you might want to think through your options.  Most people I talk to have never once thought about health insurance.  And if you go this route, you have to have money in the bank to deal with the costs as they come in.  The first two years, we built up a piggy bank by pretending we were paying for health-care coverage so we have a decent sum set aside for emergency health stuff.  Like my son's dental bills.  Ugh.  (BUT those would not have been covered under the expensive insurance either!!!!!)  

It's been about 15 years now, and we have usually saved $6,000 a year.  $90,000 is nothing to sneeze at.

In my world, my biggest annual expense is the health insurance (we pay extra for Medicare); then property taxes. 

I hope this is helpful.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Patty Joanna said:

I can speak to this, to some degree.  DH retired 15 or so years before hitting Medicare a couple of years ago.

FIRST:  I would talk to an independent representative in your state.  Each STATE has different offerings and rules and pricing.  When we bought our insurance, our state had been under the influence of a particularly inept insurance commissioner and so we had like 2 choices and an HMO.  Lack of competition + nanny state = higher prices.  Had we lived in our FORMER state, we would have had multiple providers to choose among, with fewer legal requirements, so we would have paid about half for the same coverage.

In the end, and ever since, we went with HEALTH INSURANCE, not health care coverage.  Why?

  • We are relatively healthy and at the time had no ongoing medical issues with associated costs
  • A lot of the health care were use is not covered by health-care coverage anyway, and if there is coverage, there are co-pays.

We opted to have catastrophic coverage, which has a $10K deductible and is largely cash-pay until then.  I did the math, and have done so every year, and we have never come close to paying out of pocket what we would have paid with health care coverage.  That is true for the year I broke my arm, and for the year I had 3 surgeries, 2 under general anesthesia...but I have to admit--we came close that time.

Here's the math for our current situation--for health insurance, I pay $500 a month for me and my 23yo son.  We have a $10,000 deductible.  We get some benefits, like 10 half-price chiropractor visits, a colonoscopy every 5 years, 10 counseling visits half paid, and an annual physical, 100% covered.  There are also some prescription benefits with this. I use alternative care which I pay for out of pocket.  

In contrast, the lowest-cost health care coverage would be $1400 a month with almost the same benefits and a $6000 deductible.  I would still pay for the alternative health care; that's not covered.  

So, the math on the face of it is this:  12 x $500=$6000.  12 X $1,400=$16,800.  The delta is $10,800.  I can buy a whole lot of health care for that amount of money.  And if the whole amount is spent on me, I've met my deductible and the coverage after that is very good...about the same as I would pay for the other insurance...

Most years I have saved at least $6,000 going with Health Insurance.  The year I had three surgeries, I was still about $1,000 to the good.  

This only works because we are relatively healthy.  

DH has developed a condition that needs expensive meds.  Were he still on our plan, we would be so screwed.  That said, not that many insurers cover the cost of his meds, so we would be screwed anyway, even with the health-care coverage.  As it is, he has had to find the Medicare insurer that covers the meds...and it is still going to take $5,000 out of our pockets...if he does this protocol.  

My point in rattling on about this is that you might want to think through your options.  Most people I talk to have never once thought about health insurance.  And if you go this route, you have to have money in the bank to deal with the costs as they come in.  The first two years, we built up a piggy bank by pretending we were paying for health-care coverage so we have a decent sum set aside for emergency health stuff.  Like my son's dental bills.  Ugh.  (BUT those would not have been covered under the expensive insurance either!!!!!)  

It's been about 15 years now, and we have usually saved $6,000 a year.  $90,000 is nothing to sneeze at.

In my world, my biggest annual expense is the health insurance (we pay extra for Medicare); then property taxes. 

I hope this is helpful.

 

Very helpful.  Thank you so much for sharing!  

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We opted to use COBRA to keep our insurance for 18 months after dh retired. We’re only 7 months in, but it was good insurance and dh has some health issues so we know he needs good coverage.  It’s not the cheapest option but it’s actually more affordable than we thought it would be. And it gets us 18 months closer to Medicare. 
Listening in for more advice- and for those who know, how long before we run out of COBRA coverage should we talk to an insurance broker? And how do we find one? 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a caution about this—if he can’t possibly bridge to Medicare, I don’t know that I’d want to count on ACA terms like guarantees of coverage to last much longer.  There are court challenges to various aspects of the ACA, and mostly the ACA supporters have failed to win these so far.  

Edited by Carol in Cal.
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know the common wisdom is to consult an independent insurance agent, but my advice is to thoroughly educate yourself, and take what the agent says with a ton of salt. Our rather complicated scenario:

DS21 recently graduated from college and thus became ineligible for coverage under the student plan. And he doesn't yet have a job with benefits, so we needed to get him some coverage. We (mostly DH) had already researched the options thoroughly, but we decided to consult an agent, too. We chose one who came very highly recommended on our community FB page. And she was fine for DS's young and simple needs. The main benefit is that she can be a go between if we have issues with his insurance company. BUT . . .

DH has cancer and quit work awhile back on disability. We have COBRA coverage (which has been absolutely wonderful--much better coverage than any plan we could buy on our own, and for significantly less cost). He will become eligible for Medicare later this year, and so we inquired about supplemental (Medigap) plans for him while we were speaking with her. Again, we'd already done extensive research (dozens of hours between the two of us). She really, really pushed a Medicare Advantage plan. We were appalled. An Advantage plan is maybe a legitimate choice for people in good health and who are willing to chance remaining that way For someone with complex medical needs--and no reason to think they're going to get anything but worse--an Advantage plan is a no good, horrible, terrible, awful choice. Truly, truly terrible. So . . . beware.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much everyone!  I didn't even know COBRA would be an option (we are totally ignorant about all of this right now).  This is all very helpful.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

He will become eligible for Medicare later this year, and so we inquired about supplemental (Medigap) plans for him while we were speaking with her. Again, we'd already done extensive research (dozens of hours between the two of us). She really, really pushed a Medicare Advantage plan. We were appalled. An Advantage plan is maybe a legitimate choice for people in good health and who are willing to chance remaining that way For someone with complex medical needs--and no reason to think they're going to get anything but worse--an Advantage plan is a no good, horrible, terrible, awful choice. Truly, truly terrible. So . . . beware.

The very day dh became eligible for Medicare, a salesman came knocking on our door wanting to sign him up for a Medicare Advantage plan.  I wish I had gotten his business card because I believe that's illegal or at least frowned upon.  MA plans are very competitive here in FL.  And the sales folks get a kickback for signing people up.

My sister is a Medicare advocate in NY.  She says, in general, people who are wealthier or sicker go for traditional Medicare and people who are healthier or poorer go for Medicare Advantage plans.

One idea about using the Affordable Care Act is to have only a small income so that you get a premium tax credit.  If you have saved and take a large amount of cash out, and have just a small income until age 65, you can get the premium tax credit.  However, as Carol in Cal. pointed out earlier, it's a risk to depend on the ACA because it's still controversial.  That's why I'm working.  I'm petrified to go without employer sponsored health care.  Same as your dh, I'm confident we would be fine financially.  Seems like a contradiction, but there you have it.

Edited by Sue in St Pete
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Sue in St Pete said:

'm petrified to go without employer sponsored health care.  Same as your dh, I'm confident we would be fine financially.  

 

Yes, that's how I feel too.  It's sad how many people have to continue working only because of the insurance.  Our employer health insurance is lousy, but it has been incredibly helpful in the past two years when I had some major health issues/surgeries.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, as someone who has been buying our own family's insurance nearly our entire adult lives and paying for it fully ourselves (as students, then small business owners, for all but 4 of our adult years) . . . I'd HIGHLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO FIGURE THIS OUT IN DETAIL BEFORE RETIRING.

We could probably afford to retire anytime now (albeit, living more frugally than we'd care to, but still comfortable and "safe") if our health care was covered. However, it's not . . . until I'm 65 (Medicare), so dh will likely keep working for a long, long while. If we were to retire today, we'd need to budget about 40-50k/yr after taxes for health care NOW, and that will likely go up unpredictably and rapidly as we age. Frankly, it'd likely lead to a "retirement" of eating ramen noodles instead of living large. 

Health care is the single most important consideration for retirees under Medicare age. You should absolutely not make decisions on retirement until you've got this figured out.

Things to look into, for sure:

1) COBRA options

2) Healthcare marketplace.

If it's more than 2-5 years until you're both 65 (Medicare), there's no way in heck I'd retire (from a job that can provide health care) unless I had BANK -- as in 3+ million in liquid assets -- and could EASILY budget 80k/yr for healthcare. If there were more than 10 years until 65 (for both), I would add in the willingness/ability to move to another state if your "home state" offers (now or later) crappy options. CA has a huge economy and so can/does offer more options than most places. It's also a very high cost of living area. Moving to CA is in my "emergency contingency" plans if the national health care options continue to get worse and worse. It'd be $$$ in many ways, but would provide access to reliable and decent health care options, which is the largest financial unknown in our personal budget each year. For now, our plan is just that dh will keep working and we'll keep spending $$$$$$ on health care, until for some reason, we no longer can. Or, better yet, our country finally gets universal health care, like every other modern economy on the planet. 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, StephanieZ said:

FWIW, as someone who has been buying our own family's insurance nearly our entire adult lives and paying for it fully ourselves (as students, then small business owners, for all but 4 of our adult years) . . . I'd HIGHLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO FIGURE THIS OUT IN DETAIL BEFORE RETIRING.

We could probably afford to retire anytime now (albeit, living more frugally than we'd care to, but still comfortable and "safe") if our health care was covered. However, it's not . . . until I'm 65 (Medicare), so dh will likely keep working for a long, long while. If we were to retire today, we'd need to budget about 40-50k/yr after taxes for health care NOW, and that will likely go up unpredictably and rapidly as we age. Frankly, it'd likely lead to a "retirement" of eating ramen noodles instead of living large. 

Health care is the single most important consideration for retirees under Medicare age. You should absolutely not make decisions on retirement until you've got this figured out.

Things to look into, for sure:

1) COBRA options

2) Healthcare marketplace.

If it's more than 2-5 years until you're both 65 (Medicare), there's no way in heck I'd retire (from a job that can provide health care) unless I had BANK -- as in 3+ million in liquid assets -- and could EASILY budget 80k/yr for healthcare. If there were more than 10 years until 65 (for both), I would add in the willingness/ability to move to another state if your "home state" offers (now or later) crappy options. CA has a huge economy and so can/does offer more options than most places. It's also a very high cost of living area. Moving to CA is in my "emergency contingency" plans if the national health care options continue to get worse and worse. It'd be $$$ in many ways, but would provide access to reliable and decent health care options, which is the largest financial unknown in our personal budget each year. For now, our plan is just that dh will keep working and we'll keep spending $$$$$$ on health care, until for some reason, we no longer can. Or, better yet, our country finally gets universal health care, like every other modern economy on the planet. 

 

 

 

Thank you so much for sharing!  This is what I'm afraid of.  We will definitely figure this out before he makes any final decisions.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re Medicare Advantage plans—I think Kaiser’s is pretty good.  The others that I have seen are unbelievably restrictive and horrid.  Read the fine print.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So...my DH isn't retired yet, but he is considered self-employed because he is a partner in his firm.  I was a Federal employee before kids and went 18 months on Cobra and then we stayed on with the same company, but on an individual plan.  It is $$$$$.  We are grandfathered into our plan.  If we leave it, we can't come back to it.  When I looked into ACA plans and called all of our doctors that we've had for years.  They did not participate in these ACA plans and we would have had to switch from all our great doctors to new people that were not close to where we lived.  We decided to stick with what we have as it is a fabulous plan.  It is our 2nd biggest expense each month.

My dad is 84 and on Medicare.  It is not super cheap either, but thank goodness he can afford it.  They don't cover everything though and he has a secondary plan through his retirement from the Federal government that picks up the slack.  He has to pay for that every month too.  

I know when DH retires and we are old enough for Medicare, we will still need some type of supplemental plan to help fray the costs.  So far, we are in pretty good health, but who knows what will come as we age.  

Please be careful before he actually retires.  Medical insurance will be a huge expense even when ya'll can go on Medicare.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, mlktwins said:

So...my DH isn't retired yet, but he is considered self-employed because he is a partner in his firm.  I was a Federal employee before kids and went 18 months on Cobra and then we stayed on with the same company, but on an individual plan.  It is $$$$$.  We are grandfathered into our plan.  If we leave it, we can't come back to it.  When I looked into ACA plans and called all of our doctors that we've had for years.  They did not participate in these ACA plans and we would have had to switch from all our great doctors to new people that were not close to where we lived.  We decided to stick with what we have as it is a fabulous plan.  It is our 2nd biggest expense each month.

My dad is 84 and on Medicare.  It is not super cheap either, but thank goodness he can afford it.  They don't cover everything though and he has a secondary plan through his retirement from the Federal government that picks up the slack.  He has to pay for that every month too.  

I know when DH retires and we are old enough for Medicare, we will still need some type of supplemental plan to help fray the costs.  So far, we are in pretty good health, but who knows what will come as we age.  

Please be careful before he actually retires.  Medical insurance will be a huge expense even when ya'll can go on Medicare.

This is similar to our situation.  My dh retired 15 years early due to a surprise disability.  (Literally overnight.)  His company (which was his own, but we sold it) was able to grandfather him into their group health plan and keep him on it until my dh reaches 65.  If we leave it, we can't go back.  We did a lot of research and this was definitely the best option for us given all of my dh's medical needs.  It's kind of like an individual plan within the company's group plan.  We still pay a lot each year, but my dh easily reaches the deductible every year.  Once he reaches 65 (still some time to go...), we'll go on Medicare and add options. 

I agree with Pawz4me that an independent agent is not always the best to give advice, unfortunately.  I met with two different ones right after my dh's health event, and was very disappointed.  I got more and better information just researching on my own.   I also went to a local Social Security office and talked to someone.  They were surprisingly helpful in explaining various medical insurance options.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Patty Joanna said:

I can speak to this, to some degree.  DH retired 15 or so years before hitting Medicare a couple of years ago.

FIRST:  I would talk to an independent representative in your state.  Each STATE has different offerings and rules and pricing.  When we bought our insurance, our state had been under the influence of a particularly inept insurance commissioner and so we had like 2 choices and an HMO.  Lack of competition + nanny state = higher prices.  Had we lived in our FORMER state, we would have had multiple providers to choose among, with fewer legal requirements, so we would have paid about half for the same coverage.

In the end, and ever since, we went with HEALTH INSURANCE, not health care coverage.  Why?

  • We are relatively healthy and at the time had no ongoing medical issues with associated costs
  • A lot of the health care were use is not covered by health-care coverage anyway, and if there is coverage, there are co-pays.

We opted to have catastrophic coverage, which has a $10K deductible and is largely cash-pay until then.  I did the math, and have done so every year, and we have never come close to paying out of pocket what we would have paid with health care coverage.  That is true for the year I broke my arm, and for the year I had 3 surgeries, 2 under general anesthesia...but I have to admit--we came close that time.

Here's the math for our current situation--for health insurance, I pay $500 a month for me and my 23yo son.  We have a $10,000 deductible.  We get some benefits, like 10 half-price chiropractor visits, a colonoscopy every 5 years, 10 counseling visits half paid, and an annual physical, 100% covered.  There are also some prescription benefits with this. I use alternative care which I pay for out of pocket.  

In contrast, the lowest-cost health care coverage would be $1400 a month with almost the same benefits and a $6000 deductible.  I would still pay for the alternative health care; that's not covered.  

So, the math on the face of it is this:  12 x $500=$6000.  12 X $1,400=$16,800.  The delta is $10,800.  I can buy a whole lot of health care for that amount of money.  And if the whole amount is spent on me, I've met my deductible and the coverage after that is very good...about the same as I would pay for the other insurance...

Most years I have saved at least $6,000 going with Health Insurance.  The year I had three surgeries, I was still about $1,000 to the good.  

This only works because we are relatively healthy.  

DH has developed a condition that needs expensive meds.  Were he still on our plan, we would be so screwed.  That said, not that many insurers cover the cost of his meds, so we would be screwed anyway, even with the health-care coverage.  As it is, he has had to find the Medicare insurer that covers the meds...and it is still going to take $5,000 out of our pockets...if he does this protocol.  

My point in rattling on about this is that you might want to think through your options.  Most people I talk to have never once thought about health insurance.  And if you go this route, you have to have money in the bank to deal with the costs as they come in.  The first two years, we built up a piggy bank by pretending we were paying for health-care coverage so we have a decent sum set aside for emergency health stuff.  Like my son's dental bills.  Ugh.  (BUT those would not have been covered under the expensive insurance either!!!!!)  

It's been about 15 years now, and we have usually saved $6,000 a year.  $90,000 is nothing to sneeze at.

In my world, my biggest annual expense is the health insurance (we pay extra for Medicare); then property taxes. 

I hope this is helpful.

This is super helpful, thanks for posting. I wanted to say that we get health insurance through a group plan at DH’s employer and still opt for what is essentially catastrophic insurance (a high deductible plan). I honestly find it cheaper to go overseas for dental/derm/etc but that’s not always possible. Anyway with the pretax healthcare spending set aside this plan makes even more sense if you’re healthy.

i wanted to ask what “alternative care” is, and also what your DH does for health insurance? Thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, madteaparty said:

i wanted to ask what “alternative care” is, and also what your DH does for health insurance? Thanks again!

DH is now on Medicare.  It's taken him a couple of rounds to get to the right place in THAT program.  You have to be retired to take on Medicare because taking care of THAT business is a half-time job itself.  Eg. DH's meds can be administered as an injection in a hospital, an infusion in a clinic, or as pills at home.  One insurer will cover injections but not infusions, the next will cover infusions but not injections, etc.  It's a nightmare to figure out.

Alternative:  I hate to say it right out loud because I know there are those who consider this stuff fraudulent, but hey, I'm here and alive because of it so there ya go.  Chinese herbal medicine.  Knesiology (I call her my Voodoo Doctor) and the supplements she recommends; non-FDA approved allergy treatments.  

The interesting thing about the Chinese herbal medicine and the non-FDA treatments?  My allopathic (Western medicine) doctor told me flat out that Western medicine had nothing to offer me (for a lot of reasons).  He has read double-blind research about Chinese herbal medicine that indicates it is helpful for my problems (and it has been) and said the non-FDA approved allergy treatments made sense in the medical sense, but that because of the way the treatment and the FDA is structured, this would NEVER be FDA-approved.  He also has told me that treatments that work are approved 20 years earlier in other countries because they have access to research data that we in the US do not because of HIPPA.  FDA-approval is very often behind the times because we can't do the research.  Other countries can, and are approving treatments for some things years ahead of the US.  

But insurance won't pay for treatment outside the US, or for non-FDA approved treatment...so there ya go.  

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Patty Joanna said:

we went with HEALTH INSURANCE, not health care coverage. 

I don't know the difference between health insurance and health care coverage.  Would you please elaborate?  Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Health *insurance* is to prevent you from being ruined financially by a medical emergency.  For most medical services, up to a very high deductible, you self-pay.  So, for example, when I have pneumonia, and I go to the doctor, I pay $150 for the doctor visit and $30 for the antibiotics.  Each month, I have a (relatively) low insurance premium for me and my son of $500, and the deductible is very high.  So for that month, I have paid $680 total for my health care.  

Health care coverage is to provide payment for health care along the way.  In this scenario, I get pneumonia and I go to the doctor, there is either a co-pay or nothing at all, and the meds are covered or mostly covered.  The health care coverage (for me and my son, again) would be $1,400.   So that month, I have paid $1,400 plus whatever co-pays.  

Does that help? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Sue in St Pete said:

difference between health insurance and health care coverage

I forgot to add this:  the health insurance deductible is $10,000 per person per year, with a $2M life cap per person.  It's $6,000 on the health care coverage with the same upper and lifetime limits.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing to keep in mind if you do go with a catastrophic type of policy is to make sure it does cover the emergencies that might come up. Some of them don't. All they do is meet the old tax requirement.

We have the opposite problem than most people, where we are going to reach our OOP max every year no matter what. So our deductible doesn't matter. Our premiums do though! We have researched a few of these plans and found that they didn't all provide the catastrophic coverage they were designed for. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cannot speak from experience, but I've watched lots of FIRE youtubers (folks that retire early).
Some of them have health-sharing (like "Liberty" or "Medishare"?) if they are generally healthy.

Another option is to take ACA coverage, if your retirement income is low, and then re-assess each year, based on your situation/options.

We've been unable to have affordable dental insurance for the past 20 years.
Instead, we've had annual cleanings at our local community college's Dental Hygienist Program.
A real dentist oversees the students' work (which does take all afternoon), and will refer you to another dentist if you have cavities, etc.

Yes, you need to do your research, but you're not the only ones in this situation!

Best Wishes as you plan for Retirement!

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, StephanieZ said:

FWIW, as someone who has been buying our own family's insurance nearly our entire adult lives and paying for it fully ourselves (as students, then small business owners, for all but 4 of our adult years) . . . I'd HIGHLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO FIGURE THIS OUT IN DETAIL BEFORE RETIRING.

We could probably afford to retire anytime now (albeit, living more frugally than we'd care to, but still comfortable and "safe") if our health care was covered. However, it's not . . . until I'm 65 (Medicare), so dh will likely keep working for a long, long while. If we were to retire today, we'd need to budget about 40-50k/yr after taxes for health care NOW, and that will likely go up unpredictably and rapidly as we age. Frankly, it'd likely lead to a "retirement" of eating ramen noodles instead of living large. 

Health care is the single most important consideration for retirees under Medicare age. You should absolutely not make decisions on retirement until you've got this figured out.

Things to look into, for sure:

1) COBRA options

2) Healthcare marketplace.

If it's more than 2-5 years until you're both 65 (Medicare), there's no way in heck I'd retire (from a job that can provide health care) unless I had BANK -- as in 3+ million in liquid assets -- and could EASILY budget 80k/yr for healthcare. If there were more than 10 years until 65 (for both), I would add in the willingness/ability to move to another state if your "home state" offers (now or later) crappy options. CA has a huge economy and so can/does offer more options than most places. It's also a very high cost of living area. Moving to CA is in my "emergency contingency" plans if the national health care options continue to get worse and worse. It'd be $$$ in many ways, but would provide access to reliable and decent health care options, which is the largest financial unknown in our personal budget each year. For now, our plan is just that dh will keep working and we'll keep spending $$$$$$ on health care, until for some reason, we no longer can. Or, better yet, our country finally gets universal health care, like every other modern economy on the planet. 

 

 

I’m not arguing that your worries are unfounded, but dd has always bought their own health insurance because her dh is a pastor and the churches he’s worked for never had group coverage. They have four kids and two have pretty substantial medical needs. She’s never paid anywhere near what you think you’d need. We also follow a lot of folks on Mr. Money Mustache and they seem to be doing it without hardship.  I guess what I’m saying is to check into it, be informed, but do not be scared to retire if you have your ducks in a row. Worst case scenario is that someone goes back to work in order to get health coverage. 
 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/19/2020 at 8:30 PM, maize said:

There's an online marketplace for medical insurance, hopefully people who have used it will chime in with details.

For dental insurance, if you're not getting a group plan or subsidized rate you might be better off just setting some money aside in savings and paying out of pocket. Ask the dentist for a cash discount.

Yes, this.  Dental insurance is not very good.  A savings account is better and most dentists do offer a cash discount.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Patty Joanna said:

I forgot to add this:  the health insurance deductible is $10,000 per person per year, with a $2M life cap per person.  It's $6,000 on the health care coverage with the same upper and lifetime limits.  

 

ACA compatible health insurance does not have a lifetime cap. So, clearly, your health insurance is not ACA compatible. There are numerous other risks involved with being insured by a non ACA compliant policy that anyone considering them should carefully consider.

I won't argue them here, but I want to alert readers of the issue . . . Y'all can do your own research. 

Personally, I would not choose to retire if that meant I could not access/afford ACA compliant health insurance.

We have worked too hard for too long to willingly risk being bankrupted by health care costs, so we choose to pay what it takes to remain properly (IMHO) insured as long as we can and also to work as hard as we can to advocate for a more just health care system. So, we keep an ACA compliant policy in place, period. 

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, StephanieZ said:

 

ACA compatible health insurance does not have a lifetime cap. So, clearly, your health insurance is not ACA compatible. There are numerous other risks involved with being insured by a non ACA compliant policy that anyone considering them should carefully consider.

I won't argue them here, but I want to alert readers of the issue . . . Y'all can do your own research. 

 

 

 

Yes, do the research and read the fine print.  I have an ACA compatible plan.  There is a lifetime cap on prescription costs, and its very very low.  As in you will have to enroll in a drug manufacturer's assistance plan to get your costs down as you navigate your medical needs or you will need to divorce so you can qualify for medicaid without bankrupting your spouse's retirement/your children's education.

Edited by HeighHo
  • Thanks 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/20/2020 at 7:30 AM, Pawz4me said:

I know the common wisdom is to consult an independent insurance agent, but my advice is to thoroughly educate yourself, and take what the agent says with a ton of salt. Our rather complicated scenario:

DS21 recently graduated from college and thus became ineligible for coverage under the student plan. And he doesn't yet have a job with benefits, so we needed to get him some coverage. We (mostly DH) had already researched the options thoroughly, but we decided to consult an agent, too. We chose one who came very highly recommended on our community FB page. And she was fine for DS's young and simple needs. The main benefit is that she can be a go between if we have issues with his insurance company. BUT . . .

DH has cancer and quit work awhile back on disability. We have COBRA coverage (which has been absolutely wonderful--much better coverage than any plan we could buy on our own, and for significantly less cost). He will become eligible for Medicare later this year, and so we inquired about supplemental (Medigap) plans for him while we were speaking with her. Again, we'd already done extensive research (dozens of hours between the two of us). She really, really pushed a Medicare Advantage plan. We were appalled. An Advantage plan is maybe a legitimate choice for people in good health and who are willing to chance remaining that way For someone with complex medical needs--and no reason to think they're going to get anything but worse--an Advantage plan is a no good, horrible, terrible, awful choice. Truly, truly terrible. So . . . beware.

 We just signed Dh for Medicare. I was so tired of trying to read all of the daily mail we were getting about plans, so I said screw it, we’ll go in person to the SSA office to sign up and inform them you’re waiting another year for full SS benefit. She sent us to the office of aging, and this angel of a man showed us all the choices, explained costs, part D sign up, all of it. He seemed to be as wary of Advantage plans as Medigap ones. My mother and her husband were always in the hospital, multiple times/year, multiple major surgeries. They’re well off, and their advantage plans covered just about everything, amazingly, for the past 20 years, so that confuses me a bit when people try to explain who benefits best with it.

This guy told us something about how Medigap has a rule about pre-existing conditions, but I can’t remember it exactly. We decided for basic Medicare for at least a year, and see what costs are like. I don’t think people realize that Advantage is just private insurance. The companies gets the monthly payment of Medicare, plus whatever  extra they want to charge you,  then the govt pays them another $800 or $900 a month and says “Here, now you take care of so and so.”

The only thing that ticked me off is that Medicare back dated his coverage 2 weeks, which means we’ll be billed $144 for one month and his bd isn’t until next month. And then when I called to cancel his other insurance I was told I’d owe for next month because I didn’t call by Jan 1. Either way I’m elated it’s done, it was making me a nervous wreck.

Edited by Dotwithaperiod
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

 We just signed Dh for Medicare. I was so tired of trying to read all of the daily mail we were getting about plans, so I said screw it, we’ll go in person to the SSA office to sign up and inform them you’re waiting another year for full SS benefit. She sent us to the office of aging, and this angel of a man showed us all the choices, explained costs, part D sign up, all of it. He seemed to be as wary of Advantage plans as Medigap ones. My mother and her husband were always in the hospital, multiple times/year, multiple major surgeries. They’re well off, and their advantage plans covered just about everything, amazingly, for the past 20 years, so that confuses me a bit when people try to explain who benefits best with it.

This guy told us something about how Medigap has a rule about pre-existing conditions, but I can’t remember it exactly. We decided for basic Medicare for at least a year, and see what costs are like. I don’t think people realize that Advantage is just private insurance. The companies gets the monthly payment of Medicare, plus whatever  extra they want to charge you,  then the govt pays them another $800 or $900 a month and says “Here, now you take care of so and so.”

The only thing that ticked me off is that Medicare back dated his coverage 2 weeks, which means we’ll be billed $144 for one month and his bd isn’t until next month. And then when I called to cancel his other insurance I was told I’d owe for next month because I didn’t call by Jan 1. Either way I’m elated it’s done, it was making me a nervous wreck.

Wait, you didn't get Medigap?  I hope you will consider rethinking this.  

That first time you sign up, they have to take you but later on if you apply and your health has deteriorated they can turn you down, and that can get very very expensive.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Wait, you didn't get Medigap?  I hope you will consider rethinking this.  

That first time you sign up, they have to take you but later on if you apply and your health has deteriorated they can turn you down, and that can get very very expensive.

Ditto. There's a window of time (three months, maybe?? -- I don't remember exactly). You definitely want to sign up for a Medigap plan within that window. I'm guessing what the man told you was that if you don't sign up before that window is up that's when you can be subject to underwriting, and any pre-existing conditions can be grounds for refusing to let you buy a Medigap policy. But if you sign up within that allowed window of time pre-existing conditions cannot be considered.

FWIW, the same thing is true if you initially sign up for an Advantage plan and then want to switch back to traditional Medicare with a Medigap policy--you will be subject to underwriting, and any pre-existing condition can get you denied.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

The only thing that ticked me off is that Medicare back dated his coverage 2 weeks, which means we’ll be billed $144 for one month and his bd isn’t until next month

And if you sell a house within a couple of years and get big capital gains on it, you also have to pay a premium on your Medicare for a certain amount of time.  We found THAT out. We have found out a LOT of things.  :0/   :0)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...