Retirement Medical Coverage

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Retirement Medical Coverage

By Ric Dalberri, Founder of Retirement USA

October 2009
Is retirement medical coverage in your future? Oh, the plans of mice and men. For many retirees, employers have been a critical source of benefits until recent years. The rising cost of medical coverage is squeezing corporations to cut their budgets. Guess where some are cutting? You guessed it, your retirement medical coverage.
As you plan ahead for your retirement medical coverage, you can expect to pay higher premiums and higher deductibles as well as co-pays. If you are (dreaming) planning to retire before the age of 65, you better be sure how you’re going to pay for health insurance. Really, how many of retirees can afford to retire before 65 or even retiring after 65? Many have to work part time to supplement their income. So, getting back to retirement medial coverage. After 65, you can probably say that your former employer is not going to cover you with supplement retirement medical coverage.
If you are fortunate to have a spouse that is working, take advantage of their health insurance. If not, you can continue for 18 months on COBRA, only until you reach 65, which ever comes first (18 months or 65yrs old, then you will have to get Medicare). Only companies with 20 or more employees are required to have COBRA. You should start shopping for health or supplement insurance at least one year before planning your retirement medical coverage.
If you can’t find a group policy by seeking a professional or alumni association you belong to or could join, think about starting your own little business. In some states, you can apply for one person (you) group insurance. If this is not going to work for you, than you are on your own. Your medical history or current condition will dictate what your premiums will be.
If you’re over 65, look for a medical gap supplement policy with your retirement medical coverage or, opt for a lower cost Medicare HMO that includes prescription drugs but limits your choice of doctors. You can search this through the Medicare web-site.
For you, the best way to achieve retirement medical coverage may be to return to work part time that offers your retirement medical coverage with working hours that fit your retirement lifestyle. Some may be a little as 20-25 hours per week. Speak with an insurance specialist or your employment exit counselor.