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Early retirement and health concerns
Old 04-22-2005, 09:39 PM   #1
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Early retirement and health concerns

My wife and I are 50 and plan to retire in 5 years.

By that time I will have no mortgage -- will sell our primary residence in Maryland and move to our 2nd home (condo) in Fl.

I should be able to generate $45,000 of income per year based on investments and sale of the home. At 62, we'll get $2,500 a month from SS.

The monkey wrench in our plan is my wife was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer last year -- and medical care / health insurance is a big unknown.

Any one else have experience with scenario? Currently, she covered under my health plan -- she has 'retired' due to her health -- I'm worried about her pre-exisiting condition and the ability to get adequate coverage.

Thanks!!!
dwk

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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 04-23-2005, 03:31 AM   #2
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

Health insurance is the bane of ER.

Although my DW has nothing as serious as your situation, she does have a number of health issues. As a result, we have been unable to get an individual policy for her without a number of exclusions, and we are not willing to assume the risk. So I am going the COBRA route for 18 months then she will get a policy through the state (TX) high-risk pool and I will get my own policy through a private carrier. Rates for the pool are approximately 50% higher, but it has no exclusions provided you are coming off coverage with none.

Good luck in your search for coverage.

REW
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 04-23-2005, 04:31 AM   #3
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

Hello dwk! It's a tough situation. I think you've worked it out about as well as you can given your
circumstances.

Back in 1993 when I semiretired, I had few (if any)
health issues of note. Now, I can match most
"oldtimers" with the length of the list, if not the severity.
Anyway, just one more ER problem I didn't think of
(that's also a pretty long list)
We are just hanging on now to our somewhat limited
(but affordable) coverage until Medicare kicks in
(2011 for me - 2015 for DW). I suppose as long as my wife keeps working I will be able to piggyback on her
coverage. We could also make some adjustments to allow both of us to be covered by a group policy in my
small holding company. We have pretty high exposure
in several insurance areas (not just health). My feeling was that we had
to do a lot of self insuring due to budgetary limitations.
I tend to "try" to cover only disasters in all insurance,
assuming I can see enough premium saving to make
sense of it.

JG
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 04-24-2005, 05:50 AM   #4
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

What is available is dependent on what state you live in. Look at http://www.healthinsuranceinfo.net/ for state guides on health insurance. Plan well ahead in case it turns out you want to move to another state to get coverage. You might want to do that while on COBRA.

Here is a website that specifically discusses risk pools, what states have them and the requirements: http://www.healthinsurance.org/riskpoolinfo.html
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 04-30-2005, 06:56 AM   #5
 
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

My wife had a problem that caused us to have to have high-risk health insurance for a while. But after there were no problems for five years, we were one again able to go to regular health insurance (high deductible -- see my other posts).

It's a good thing we researched it or we wouldn't have known about the 5 year rule.
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 04-30-2005, 08:53 AM   #6
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

Quote:
What is available is dependent on what state you live in. *Look at http://www.healthinsuranceinfo.net/ for state guides on health insurance. *Plan well ahead in case it turns out you want to move to another state to get coverage. *You might want to do that while on COBRA.

Here is a website that specifically discusses risk pools, what states have them and the requirements: http://www.healthinsurance.org/riskpoolinfo.html
Websites appear very informative although anyone have any information on how to maintain heath insurance in the US if you become a perpetual traveler for a while.


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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 05-01-2005, 06:25 PM   #7
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

You might consider applying for Social Security disabilty for your wife. If she is eligible, she would get Medicare health insurance. You would then only have to insure yourself.
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 05-01-2005, 07:38 PM   #8
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

There are lots of free meds from the pharmaceutical companies (they're trying to stem the tide from U.S. people going to Canada). Many, if not most, do not check income, only interested if you do not have drug coverage.

This is a recent development for the drug cos. - I know many drugs for cancer can be thousands of dollars per pill (drug rep here).

Just need to educate yourselves...
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 05-01-2005, 08:57 PM   #9
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996. She died of it after a nine year suvivorship. The medical bills were well over a million dollars. Probably 1.3M to 1.5 M. We were teachers in Texas and we lucky enough to have insurance even after my early retirement at 53 years old. My age + years of service qualified me and I carried her under my plan. It even had a prescription coverage. The key was a $5000/year out of pocket max and they paid 100% afterwards. Each year we hit the $5000 mark within 4 to 6 weeks. Chemo infusion was about $2000 - $3000 per week or more if she needed Procrit or Zofran for nausea ($900 a script and up). The chemo was $1700 and treatment service was $300/hr.

The radiation and surgeries were even worse. Even with such great coverage I still owe about $38,000 which they seem to be satisfied with $50 - $100 monthly. I really cannot say if she would have gotten the same level of care or not if my insurance was not good. We went to MD Anderson in Houston and Stanford University in California. She would not have lasted so long with local medicine.

I am not trying to scare or discourage you but you and she are about to be full time fighters of cancer. God bless you both and 'Live Strong'

You must have coverage so if that means you work longer to cover your wife then that is what must be done. I am so sorry to have to write this but you must know the truth. Even she goes into remission (No Evidence of Disease is now the term) she will be screened ($1500 MRIs) several times a year and blood tests and profilatic chemo like Tamoxifin and so much more.

When people ask what you do (as in work) your answer will soon become we fight cancer. I will pray for you both tonight!
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 05-01-2005, 09:05 PM   #10
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

She will probably qualify for Social Security Disability if she has paid into the system. It is not too late to apply and qualify. Her benefits will be based as if she continued working until full retirement age. My wife got $1370/month and it sure helped. She will qualify for medicare after she has received her 24th benefit payment. SS will send you a check for monthly payments back to the point in time that she was no longer able to work. Those months count toward the 24 to reach Medicare coverage.

I hope this helps but I would rather my prayers do more good than this.
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 05-01-2005, 10:00 PM   #11
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

I will be praying, too!

Ol' Rancher, I can't imagine how hard that was, I have only been married 5.5 years, but the thought of life without DW is unimaginable. At one point we thought we would lose our daughter due to her heart defect and I was a wreck. I am in extreme admiration of your strength to see her through that decade. I know she will thank you when you meet again.
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 05-01-2005, 10:10 PM   #12
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

Ol' Rancher,

Thank you for sharing your touching story. It must have been hard to relive it or to think about it.

Spanky
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 05-01-2005, 10:19 PM   #13
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

Ol Rancher, *I am an 8 year cancer survivor. *Thank goodness for a caring husband, family and friends who stood by my side during the long cancer battle. *I went on a four month disability during chemo treatment, went back to work during the 33 radiation sessions. *Yearly scans now and have been cancer-free. *I was fully covered on my employer's health insurance. *Very fortunate. *I will now go on my husband's medical insurance this year when he retires from a government position. * I was told at a *medical/legal seminar I attended to never be without good medical insurance with the cancer history. *My employer still pays 100% of my medical premium, and when I go on my husband's insurance will pay $350 per month which isn't too steep considering... *
* *You were your wife's rock in her battle. *So sorry for your loss. *
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 05-02-2005, 08:52 AM   #14
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

Spanky, Ginger, Lawrencewill,

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Thank you for your thoughts and concern for me. Yes, it is the most difficult period in my life. The loss of my true love hurts beyond measure but at 59 I am too young to quit life.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * I hope dwk messages me for guidance and support in his role as care-giver and husband of a cancer survivor. I thought about him and his DW* all night. They will never be the same no matter what the immediate outcomes of treatment are. Cancer is an insidious disease that lurks over the shoulder of every survivor regardless of disease status. All survivors have* their heart in there throats each and every time they wait for test results.
Fighting cancer becomes a lifestyle, especially with the aggressive cancers.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * I have learned more than I would like to know about this damn disease.

* * * "Why me?* * NO ONE deserves cancer NO ONE .. then why not me?" , Sharon H Cain* 1953 - 2005*
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 05-02-2005, 02:43 PM   #15
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

DWK,

I pray that your wife has a full recovery. Believe in the power of miracles and God's love.

LovesLife

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Re: Early retirement and health concerns
Old 05-03-2005, 08:06 AM   #16
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Re: Early retirement and health concerns

Hello Ol-Rancher:

I was really touched by your story. Thank you for sharing your experience. May He be your strength and peace to go on because surely the pain and loss continues. My dad is fighting advanced cancer. Meticulous diet, swam everyday. No tob or alcohol. It's very hard to see him weak and fighting cancer has become my mother's life too. I hope for you much, much healing.
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