Seeking affordable Healthcare insurance for Baby
Boomers is a particularly difficult undertaking for those
who are not covered by a pension plan and too young to
qualify for Medicare (65). It is a big expensive void.
If you are a Baby Boomer whose income is
under $1,000 monthly, you might just want to forego health
insurance altogether and seek to qualify for a state-run program. Barring that, if you are in good
health, consider just not having healthcare insurance and hope you stay
well and do not suffer an illness or accident before you
qualify for Medicare at age 65. Chances are, if
something happens, there is a fund somewhere that would pick
up all or a large portion of the costs (although medical
bills may first consume whatever assets you have).
For the rest of the Baby Boomers, getting
individual or family healthcare insurance is costly, as much as
$2,000 or more monthly depending on pre-existing conditions.
And just getting a quote is typically an extensive process,
requiring completing comprehensive online forms which ask
such personal questions as "Have you ever smoked marijuana?"
Of course, no Baby Boomers have.
But there are some things you can do to
minimize your health insurance costs. If you and your
family are in general good health, consider starting a
Health Savings Account (HSA). This is a personal
account that lets Baby Boomers pay for qualified medical
expenses with tax-advantaged funds. You or an eligible
family member make contributions to your HSA tax-free, and
those dollars earn interest tax-free. Then, when you make
withdrawals from your account to pay for qualified health
care expenses, they are tax-free too.
What about the new healthcare law - how does
that affect you? The answer can be found in the
AARP Fact Sheet: What the New Health Care Law Means for
People Ages 50-64
Some things to look for when you are
evaluating health insurance programs are:
What the out-of-pocket expenses are for
co-pays and deductibles for doctor visits and
Does the hospitalization portion
includes the room and board and incidentals, and whether
the surgical coverage includes the surgeon's fee as well
as the procedure.
United HealthCare Insurance Company provides these plans:
AARP Group Hospital and Advantage, Supplemental Medical,
Personal Health Insurance, and Medicare Supplemental.
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company provides extended care
(AARP Long-Term Care Insurance Plan). These providers are
under contract with AARP to provide specific health
insurance options that are custom-designed for group
Each of the plans, while being far from comprehensive as
group health insurance, continue to provide considerable
savings for thousands of individuals. The high cost of
personal coverage makes some types of insurance prohibitive.
The ideal candidates are those who have lost their jobs,
accepted early retirement, or are individuals who have
returned to the work force on a part-time basis.
Bear in mind that although health insurance is expensive,
there are some major benefits that cannot be discounted:
Your co-pay is based on significantly
reduced rates negotiated by the insurance company.
If you had to pay the full amount yourself, it would be
Without health insurance, an accident or
serious illness could wipe out all your assets.
According to AARP, the major things you can
do are quit smoking, lose weight and exercise.
You must stay as healthy as you can, not only for the
pleasure of it but to keep yourself out of medical debt.
Even if you have insurance, it may not cover all your
If you are eligible for Medicare, click on
the below graphic to explore commercial options for the best
supplemental insurance, Medicare Part D Drug and Medicare
Advantage coverage among health insurance providers:
If Medicare coverage is still a while off
for you, search commercially available health plans for the
lowest rates by clicking on the graphic below:
Your most affordable choice will carry a
high deductible—say, $2,500 to $5,000 per year. If you
remain healthy, you won't have to use that deductible
before Medicare clicks in.
State High-Risk Health Insurance Pools
Some Baby Boomers may be denied health
insurance coverage because of a medical condition.
These people are considered high-risk by most health
insurance companies. Most states now provide
risk-pools to help those who may not be able to have or
afford health insurance because of their physical condition.
It is not cheap coverage but can be a way for those who are
declared "uninsurable" to obtain health insurance.
for a directory of states that have risk pools.
Rather than healthcare insurance, a low-cost
alternative is to join a healthcare discount program. These
typically offer a discount of 10-to-60 percent for health
services at participating doctors nationwide. Instead
of paying hundreds of dollars each month for healthcare
insurance, you would typically pay less than $100 monthly to
join a program. And there is no physical or
qualification process involved.
This is an excellent
solution for those who cannot afford health insurance and/or
are in relatively good health. Just make sure there is
a medical provider in your area that will take your discount
card before signing up for any plan! Learn more about
discount healthcare programs at the
Consumer Health Alliance before buying into any plan.
Cutting your Prescription Costs
In addition to the AARP/Aetna health plan,
alternative actions you can take to
reduce prescription costs are:
Ask your doctor to redirect you to a
generic version(s) of your drug(s).
Tell your doctor that you cannot afford
the prescribed drug(s). They usually have free
samples from pharmaceutical companies that they can give
If you are a veteran, go to the VA to
get your prescriptions - you can save up to 50%!
Generally, if you earn less in a year
than $39,200 for single people or $52,800 for couples,
you may qualify free for some or all of the prescription
drugs you need. Learn more at the
Free Medicine Foundation.
Get a free
Care card, that provides nationwide discounts of up
to 75% on drugs purchased at Rite-Aid, Walgreens or
Honorably-discharged veterans can get
many prescription drugs for $8 monthly through the VA
Health Care System (877-222-8387;
Pharmacists have banned together to
offer discounts and deals to consumers. learn more at
RX Savings Solutions.
Pharmaceutical companies patient
assistance programs will provide free drugs to families
making as much as $40,000 - $70,000 annually. For
details, go to the pharmaceutical company's Website or
call their 800 number.
Even if you already have independent healthcare
insurance, you may be able to save money by canceling the
prescription drug part of your policy and taking advantage
of one of the above programs or tactics.