Managing unexpected health-care costs in retirement

Preparing for retirement can be a career-long endeavor, but no matter the level of preparedness, retirees can sometimes be faced with issues that they never could have planned for. Often, those unexpected items fall under the umbrella of health-care costs and needs.
For many retirees over the age of 65, Medicare is the primary source of coverage. When supplemental coverage is needed, it can often come in the form of employer plans and individual Medigap policies or HMOs. The recommendations from the Society of Actuaries, however, include other outlets that retirees can look to when faced with unexpected costs.
Therefore, to alleviate the uncertainty surrounding what one would do if confronted with unexpected medical costs, the Society of Actuaries delivered the following game plan, which includes several recommendations:

  • Other federal or state-local programs may assist low-income retirees.
  • Instead of retiring from a job with health benefits, employees may choose to keep working, at least part-time, in a job that will allow them to remain covered.
  • After 2014, individual coverage should be available through state insurance exchanges, assuming health reform implementation goes smoothly. The cost of such coverage is not yet known.
  • Wide varieties of “discount benefit plans” are available for typical non-covered services such as dental or vision care. Regulators have had to clamp down on marketing practices to keep consumers from mistaking such discount arrangements for insurance coverage.
  • Medical travel or even migration to other countries has gained popularity as a way for consumers to reduce their cost for care. Costly surgery covered in the United States by normal insurance sometimes is available elsewhere at lower out-of-pocket cost, although there may be added risk.

The physical well-being of our patients is incredibly important to the team at Freedom Home Care. If you or your aging loved one have any questions as to how to alleviate some of the costs of post-retirement care, feel free to reach out to us. We may be able to provide you with additional recommendations.