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Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-29-2006, 03:40 PM   #1
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Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Seems like this book is highly recommended by members of this forum.* I haven't read it.* I just browsed its website (http://www.nolo.com/guide/worklesslivemore.html) and noticed that the "health insurance" topic is not included in its table of contents.* Does this book offer a "health insurance" strategy for early retired people who plan to remain in the US?

Thanks,
Sam
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-29-2006, 05:05 PM   #2
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Sam, in case you aren't aware of it, forum member ESRBob is the author of "Work Less, Live More". I'm guessing no one is responding to your question because they are expecting him to reply.

Nothing better than getting it directly from the source...


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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-29-2006, 05:08 PM   #3
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Thanks REWahoo. No, I'm not are of that.

Sam
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-29-2006, 06:14 PM   #4
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

I'm not Bob but you made me curious so I looked it up.

He talks health insurance on pages 98-99, 127, 130, 211, & 217. It's mainly in the chapter on LBYM and other changes to plan for when you stop working. It's more focused on the U.S. but other countries are mentioned as being about 25% of the U.S. cost of health insurance. He also mentions HSAs and refers readers to www.treas.gov & www.hsainsider.com.

The book doesn't appear to try to solve the healthcare problem but rather to make people aware of the issue as they plan their ER. Judging from other threads on this board, the subject is so complex in different employment situations and varies so considerably from state to state that it'd be a book in itself-- one that would have to be updated monthly. But I don't know if there's a current book on healthcare solutions.
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-29-2006, 06:22 PM   #5
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Turns out there are some interesting sources of healthcare. I found out that one of my old companies (who self insures for health) would extend to me what amounts to group coverage as a former employee. Trying to find someone to tell me how much it would cost was an extravaganza though. Not something I needed, so I just marked it off as "something interesting to know in case I need it later" and left at that.
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-29-2006, 07:13 PM   #6
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Thank you all for your replies.* I suspect that there will never be a reasonable Health Insurance in the US.

I find it impossible to budget this item, given its out of control rise in the last ten years or so.* I wonder if health cost is included in the yearly calculation of inflation?

Sam
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-29-2006, 07:18 PM   #7
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpifact4.htm

After reading the text twice, I'm no closer to explaining it, but I'll take a stab at saying that however they do it, the cost increases are minimized to the point where they're unrealistic. If they had any reasonable bearing or were measured properly and considered as part of a rational budget, CPI would be a little bit higher than 1-3% over the last few years.
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-29-2006, 07:48 PM   #8
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sr. Senor Cute 'n' Fuzzy Bunny
http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpifact4.htm

After reading the text twice, I'm no closer to explaining it, but I'll take a stab at saying that however they do it, the cost increases are minimized to the point where they're unrealistic.* If they had any reasonable bearing or were measured properly and considered as part of a rational budget, CPI would be a little bit higher than 1-3% over the last few years.
I was about to say the same thing, eventhough I have not completely read it.
Sam
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-29-2006, 09:38 PM   #9
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

The Retire Early Home Page forum has a section dedicated to health care and prescription drugs:

http://www.retireearlyhomepage.com/c...l?board=HEALTH

It's not as busy as this board, but I've seen some good info. IIRC, intercst uses healthcare sector investments to hedge against healthcare cost increases.

Health insurance may well be the largest fiscal concern of all retirees these days. Scratch that; all retirees with no guaranteed coverage from previous employment or whatnot.
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-29-2006, 09:58 PM   #10
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Canada a social experiment where Parents have One Year of paid leave and Health Care is considered a universal right, kinda like the right to an AK 47 ,South of the border.

GOD save our Land etc.

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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-30-2006, 06:32 AM   #11
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximillion
Canada a social experiment where Parents have One Year of paid leave and Health Care is considered a universal right, kinda like the right to an AK 47 ,South of the border.

GOD save our Land etc.

Glorious and Free.
Well, that was on-topic, helpful and not incendiary at all. : Where did that come from for this thread?
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-30-2006, 07:31 AM   #12
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Sam, how close to ER are you? If you are pretty close (a few years or less), you can get a pretty good idea by going to www.healthinsurance.com and getting quotes. Won't be prefect, but should at least give you a starting point and an idea of what the trade-offs are (i.e. how much less would the premium be for varying levels of deductible and coverage limits).

If you are farther away (like me), I wouldn't get too twisted up about it. A lot will change in the next 10 years. It is possible by then that the US healthcare system will have had its crisis and gotten fixed. Or I might have become Emporer of Greenland and capable of granting you free healthcare.
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-30-2006, 04:46 PM   #13
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
If you are farther away (like me), I wouldn't get too twisted up about it.* A lot will change in the next 10 years.* It is possible by then that the US healthcare system will have had its crisis and gotten fixed.* Or I might have become Emporer of Greenland and capable of granting you free healthcare.
For a little favor in return I would assume?

BTW, I saw a poll of the Yale Class of 1962. The question was-"Would you approve of a universal health care system in the USA?"

80% either approved or strongly approved. Fewer than 5% strongly disapproved. This comes from a traditionally affluent and somewhat conservative group of men.

Ha
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-30-2006, 09:08 PM   #14
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
Sam, how close to ER are you?*
I'm 5 to 7 years away.* My younger son should be done with college in 5 years.* Thanks for the free health care offer

I don't have a solution for the healthcare crisis in the US.* I do think that if one can not invent something great, why not just copy the existing best?* Serveral european countries, Japan, and even our neighbor Canada have a working system...

If the system is still out of control by the time I quit, I would simply move.

Sam
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-30-2006, 09:59 PM   #15
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

I'm 5 years away from retirement. I estimated increases of 10% per annum for health care, but I'm afraid that will end up being too low. Even at 10% annually my retirement plan's insurance premium will cost $12,000 5 years from now, and it will zoom up to over $25,000 well before I get to medicare age (assuming medicare survives the neocon revolution.)

OK, here's my newest conspiracy theory: Somewhere during Clinton, government economists, realizing that mass baby boomer retirements would break the economy, deliberately allowed the health care crises to spiral out of control. Bushie economists continued the plan, and also threatened to dismantle Social Security and gut Medicare. Voila, boomers can no longer afford to retire before age 65, and some will have to work into their 70s. Problem solved.
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 03-30-2006, 11:05 PM   #16
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tawny Dangle
OK, here's my newest conspiracy theory: Somewhere during Clinton, government economists, realizing that mass baby boomer retirements would break the economy, deliberately allowed the health care crises to spiral out of control. Bushie economists continued the plan, and also threatened to dismantle Social Security and gut Medicare. Voila, boomers can no longer afford to retire before age 65, and some will have to work into their 70s. Problem solved.
Tawny,

That's amazing. You're speaking my mind! Ha ha.

Sam
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 04-14-2006, 11:23 AM   #17
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Sam,
Sorry I didn't see this post till today, and thanks again Nords for bailing me out on a timely basis! Since Work Less Live More came out, I've read another book that has been discussed elsewhere on the forum and will highly recommend it in the health insurance area of the next edition of WLLM:

The New Health Insurance Solution: How to Get Cheaper, Better Coverage Without a Traditional Employer Plan" by Paul Zane Pilzer

Pilzer focusses on the Health Savings Account with High Deductible approach, and lists representative prices by state. If you don't live in NY or NJ you should be in pretty good shape. Mass used to be the third-worst, but it looks like they are tyring to fix that with a bold new plan.

If your health is poor, though, plenty of people feel stuck even with the HSA/High Deductible approach. One possibility there is to either start your own firm doing something home-based and modestly profitable, then get yourself a corporate plan where, (some will amazingly enough take on groups of a single employee), wherein, at least in some states, you are regulated with other corporate plans and/or pooled together so that you can get affordable insurance despite your condition. The health insurance will even be tax deductible to your company. Another approach is to get a congenial part time job with an employer and try to negotiate health insurance as part of that compensation plan. Many states also have high-risk-pools, like in auto insurance, which let people with health issues still get individual insurance albeit at a higher price.

Even though Medicare isn't a perfect solution, and will require some supplemental coverage for most people, at the end of the day, ERs' health insurance 'problem' is basically about finding a way to bridge the years until we are 65. It isn't forever.

What I most liked about Pilzer's book, btw, was his well-researched assertion that we are shifting from the old paradigm of employer-sponsored health insurance to a much richer blend of self-managed/purchased health insurance. As this opens up, all sorts of new products, legislation and innovation are ocurring which should bring prices of healthcare down, accessibility of affordable insurance options up, and be good news for ER, self-employed and others, whether healthy or with chronic conditions. It isn't all there yet, but we are making decent strides and they are all in the right direction.
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 04-14-2006, 03:13 PM   #18
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Thank you ESRBob for your reply.

I ordered your WLLM book from Amazon (along with Annapolis Autumn) and it arrived a few days ago.* I'm half way through it now.

My retirement is still 5 to 7 years away.* I was very concerned about health insurance cost.* Now, I'm ok.* My thinking is that if the US health system is still a mess by that time, I would simply move.* In south east asia or central america, $1,000/person/year should be plenty to take care of health issue.* Heck, $1,000/year is about the same or more than the average income of the populace there.* No more worries for me* :P

Sam
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 04-14-2006, 03:34 PM   #19
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

ESRBob,

I forgot to mention one thing about your book, WLLM.* Somewhere in the first portion of the book, you mention "private schooling".* Sounds like you're saying that sending young kids to private schools is a waste of money, a way to keep up with the Joneses.

With due respect, I totally disagree with you on that logic.* When my kids were in elementary school, I made a promise to myself that I would work hard, save money, live below my mean, in order to be able to send them to reputable, challenging, demanding private schools before they reach the sixth grade.* I chose the school based on tangible data:* Average SAT score, graduation percentage, % going to college, and most importantly which colleges graduates end up going to.* The cost of sending my two kids to private school is about 25% of my gross annual income, and there is no tax advantage.* I have no regret yet.

So, your view on private school might be valid in some cases, but not in all cases.

Other than that, I like your book a lot.

Regards,

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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?
Old 04-14-2006, 10:24 PM   #20
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Re: Work Less, Live More: US Health Insurance?

Sam,
I went around and around on the wording on private schools, because I agree with you -- it is a large, even avoidable expense for some, and the best investment ever made for others. Our family are lucky to be in a great public school system, but if the kids were flailing around and unhappy, we'd move them to a private school and just make the financial sacrifices to make it happen. Still, the cost of private school may just be the beginning of it --- our friends who have their kids there find that there is a whole lifestyle that they get tugged into, too, to keep up with a very wealthy crowd. The old minivan gets an upgrade to a Mercedes wagon, the club memberships become de rigeur, extra donations to the school's capital campaign are pledged, private tennis leagues, weekends in nicer places, maybe a new wardrobe... it all sort of goes together, at least for some of the people I've met. Still, from the p.o.v. of the kids and their future, it could be the best money ever spent. Personal choices and up to parents to steer through all the issues and skim the cream, I guess.
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