I looked over the message board and did not find a discussion directly related to this, so I'll start one here.
I am looking to retire this July. I have adequate savings, plus a small pension, and a financial planner who has worked out how long my money will last given reasonable economic ups and downs. Also, I bought a long term care policy, so I am covered for that. My health is excellent.
So, what's the problem? Medical Insurance. I will be exactly 61 years old when I retire.
Seems I miscalculated a little when I was planning before. I investigated some of Kaiser's rates (my current provider), and found some monthly premiums as low as $231 for an individual, which is my case. Great, I thought, I can pay that. But then I realized that a plan like that has a $5000 deductible, and costs for visits could be $50, and prescription drugs are not covered. It would not be anything at all like my current plan under covered employment, in which many services either have a $20 copay or are free.
Then there is also the cost of a dental plan, which I would also have to provide.
So, how can one best understand and approach such a situation? Are there experts who specialize in this kind of stuff? My financial planner is great for funds and annuities, but I believe this would be out of his league. I'd be interested to hear from others who have dealt with this situation, keeping in mind that everyone is a slightly different case.
Thank you for your suggestions.
BTW, I did do some research - for example, a company like Kaiser may charge a copay of $50 for a service AFTER DEDUCTIBLE. That doesn't tell you what the service costs before deductible. I was able to google their real fees and got a PDF with about 7 pages and costs for procedures. But still, an office visit could cost anything from $50 to $205, depending on the severity level. Other fees are more precise; for example, colonoscopy is $654 if it includes tissue removal, and so on. So it is possible to guess what a person will pay, sort of, per year, based on past experience.
I guess I could go around to all the other insurers and repeat the info gathering process.
However, I still feel that I am not an expert in this area, and the knowledge that I could miss something important bothers me. Where are the real experts?
Thanks Jerry. I did a comparison of different plans within Kaiser, who I am with now, but the individual plans. Looks like when you factor in the deductible, and have a few of the standard visits every year, nothing out of the ordinary, the lowest I could get it would be about $4250 per year, including premiums (this is in southern California). That's about $350 per month. Right now I am paying zero for premiums, because it's paid through my employer, and the copays probably don't even amount to $150 per year, if that much. So, big difference between covered employment and going on an individual plan.
If I had a serious condition come up, though, it could be much worse. Some things like hospital stay and surgery in one of these individual plans could be very costly, because they are percentages of the fee, not set copays. That's scary.
The other scary thing is that the first group of consumers to get hit with premium increases will be the individuals. They have no bargaining power, and their fees are likely to increase the most. In the long run, being healthy is the best strategy, I guess.
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