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    Tips for Comfortably Retiring on a Limited Income

Baby Boomers can still retire even on a limited income by taking steps to stretch their dollars! 

Tips and advice for making your retirement dollars go further!

 

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Baby Boomers and Healthcare -

Shopping Health Insurance

Tips for Baby Boomers Who are Too Young for Medicare

baby Boomers & health insurance.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 Health insurance for Baby Boomers under 65 is expensive!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.

Smart for Life

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 prescriptions.

  • 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.

There's no way to get around it - Baby Boomer health insurance is expensive!
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 members.

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 considerably higher.

  • 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 costs.

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.   Click here for a directory of states that have risk pools.

Discount Healthcare

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. 

A discount healthcare solution to review is one of our affiliates, KeyLife Benefits, which offers wellness services through nationwide health service providers. Key Life membership also provides discounted legal, dining, hearing, vision and roadside assistance services.

Cutting your Prescription  Costs

Baby Boomers can cut prescription costs by requesting generic brands.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 you.

  • 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 True Care card, that provides nationwide discounts of up to 75% on drugs purchased at Rite-Aid, Walgreens or Target.

  • Honorably-discharged veterans can get many prescription drugs for $8 monthly through the VA Health Care System (877-222-8387; www.va.gov).

  • 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.

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