As you know, insuring your life, your home, your car, and more is very important. Life insurance is important so that your family can reap the benefits after you pass away. On the other hand, if you buy the right health insurance, you will be able to benefit from it during the “gap years” – the time between when you retire and when you become eligible for Medicare.
These years are important because, as you turn 60, your health often starts to deteriorate. The cost of medical treatment is high and it can become almost impossible to manage such expenses after retirement – especially if you are living on a fixed income, as so many of us are after retirement. So, finding affordable health insurance is important for the pensioner.
Finding the Right Health Insurance Policy
Finding the right health insurance policy, one you can afford to make payments on, is important. The cost of health insurance is high, but can be crucial to have during times of medical emergencies. Some of the options you can try are:
- COBRA – The plans offered by employers usually cost you less than other health insurance policies. However, depending on your company, once you leave the office you may no longer be able to enjoy those benefits. This is where COBRA comes in, through which you can “buy back” your group health policy benefits. You can continue with COBRA for up to a year-and-a-half, but only if the company you had been working for had at least 20 employees. Nancy Davenport-Ennis, founder and CEO of the National Patient Advocate Foundation says “If your company offers you COBRA when you get to be 63 1/2, then you could use COBRA for 18 months and then go right into Medicare.”
- Retiree medical insurance – In general, the majority of workers don’t receive retiree benefits from employers. It was only a meager 28% of large firms – those who had more than 200 workers – who offered retiree insurance policies in the year 2010. Previously, that number was recorded to be 66%, but that was way back in 1988. With time, things have changed and the number of companies offering such policies is quickly dwindling.
- Health exchanges to be coming soon – For those who have retired before reaching 65, you may have the option to purchase health insurance, via insurance exchanges, beginning next year (2014). This is for those who have tax credits and have low or moderate incomes. However, the only factor of concern here is if the health law is going to be reformed even before the exchanges become operational.
- Part time jobs – If you are still in good health and can manage to work, you may be able to obtain a health policy by working part-time. In general, companies offer health policies to those employees who work a minimum of 240 hours per quarter, or at least 20 hours per week. John Schubert, a Deloitte health actuary, is of the opinion that “If you don’t think you can get individual health insurance because of your health status, you are better off staying employed,” and that “Some people will take a part-time job with reduced work hours or take a job they are overqualified for just to get health insurance.”
These are some of the options through which you can buy affordable health care policies, before age 65. Take good care of your health and enjoy a long and healthy retirement!