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The Stars are Aligning
Old 11-20-2009, 12:33 PM   #1
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The Stars are Aligning

I don't have a count down meter like W2R did, but looks like things are falling in place for me to retire. The official date on paper will probably be 1/02/2010 but I have not signed on the dotted line yet. I am taking one week vacation this next week and two weeks vacation at the end of December. So I've basically got 3 weeks of actual time on the job to do. I have already started bringing home personal items and mentally retiring.

Megacorp as of yesterday informed me I could choose a private individual health plan (which I'll have to apply for) with their blessings. They will funnel some dollars to me to help with cost. Something that put the icing on the cake for me. Not full funding and no promise on number of years but the amount will not change unless they change the amount going to all retirees and current employees. So good news on that.

Once again I'm looking for help, advise and input on how to apply for (how much info to give etc.) and choose my family health plan.
Thanks,
Steve
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:34 PM   #2
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Congratulations, was this long planned that this would be your date or did things change to make this date a possibility.
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:43 PM   #3
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Congratulations. On the applying for the private insurance part, you might want to get a copy of your medical records. That way, that can be processed while you are on vacation and be in front of you when you apply. When I FIRE'd, I had about a month to apply and get my individual health insurance approved and it took me almost the entire month to have everything processed.
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:44 PM   #4
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I found eHealthInsurance to be a good resource when shopping for individual health insurance. Just be aware of one thing - the prices you see quoted may not always be the prices you get once your application is approved. When I selected my policy and submitted the application, I received a message stating that most often the premiums are about 20% higher than what is quoted on the website. The website prices were "best case" - for someone with little or no health issues.

I was fortunate to get the "best case" price quoted on the website, but thought it would be a real bummer to go through all the research only to find out you are accepted but with a higher premium.
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:47 PM   #5
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I've mentally had this date going for years but the problem has always been what to do about health care. Two years ago megacorp had locked me into something (health care wise) that just didn't work. I never got a change or up date on that plan. This week I decided to approach Human Resources (shooting for the stars for major help) and was turned down. So, I made contact again planning to shoot for less but at least some help. Before I got to ask in the meeting, they laid out what they would do. So, I'm not sure if the benefit had changed in the last couple years, without me knowing it, or if megacorp decided to help me out. Oh, it was mentioned that I was not the average age retiree (55) so my situation was different from the 62 to 65 year old. Maybe they changed it for me based on my age? I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth that's for sure. But now can I get accepted by insurance companies?
At any rate, looks like I'm going to be "Free at Last"
Steve

PS. I guess I could go on cobra while I search but not sure if I should go that route?
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:48 PM   #6
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You may wish to read this thread on the health insurance search:

Best Approach for HI Search
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:57 PM   #7
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You may wish to read this thread on the health insurance search:

Best Approach for HI Search

Thanks easysurfer, I'll check it out.
Should I try to get private coverage before signing the retirement papers or go on cobra then start my search? As soon as accepted the billing from insurance company would start?
Steve
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:41 PM   #8
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Congratulations !
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:49 PM   #9
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How exciting, Steve! Congratulations! I don't have any health insurance info, but I wanted to congratulate you on making the decision and at least being ready to sign on the dotted line, even if you haven't yet.

I did the same as you - - taking a lot of vacation time during my last couple of months. I think it really helped to ease my transition into retirement, plus it helped by lessening stress during my last work weeks.

My supervisor knew two or three years ago that I planned to retire when I did, because I worked with her very closely on oil spills (she did the historical analyses and writeups, and I coordinated the modeling) before she became my supervisor. We talked about everything. I first started the retirement paperwork at my HR office last spring, and at that time told my supervisor that I had done so. Basically, if the forum thinks I had a long countdown they should have seen my real life countdown!
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:52 PM   #10
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You are going to really enjoy the holidays this year!

Congratulations. Very nice that megacorp will help out with the health insurance, too.
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:07 PM   #11
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Congratulations Steve.

I'm hoping to be about 3 or 4 weeks after you - still waiting on HR to confirm eligibility and pension benefits
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:18 PM   #12
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Congratulations Steve.

I'm hoping to be about 3 or 4 weeks after you - still waiting on HR to conform eligibility and pension benefits
Alan,
I'm still waiting on the same thing. That's one reason I haven't signed.
I may end up going out without the formal paper work even being finished. But I know and my HR agrees that I qualify according to the records and dates. As a matter of fact (not actually planned), the last day I work is the day I started working 30 years ago to date. Started Dec. 17, 1979 last day to be there on the clock is Dec. 17, 2009 !!!
What a cool ending, didn't even realize it until yesterday !!!
Steve
PS. Clock is another good reason to retire. Never had an actual clock to punch until maybe 1.5 years ago. With a hand scanner no less. I really hated to see that come to my work place. But not for much longer
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:41 PM   #13
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Should I try to get private coverage before signing the retirement papers or go on cobra then start my search? As soon as accepted the billing from insurance company would start?
Steve
Congratulations Steve.

Please double check this, but I think you have 59 days to sign up for COBRA and not have a break in your insurance coverage. It is extremely important not to have a break in coverage.

I suggest you apply for personal HI ahead of time and give them a start date - your first day of ER. It worked well for me.

Read the information for your state at this site
Health Insurance and Coverage Help for Consumers Everywhere

and as a previous poster suggested, try ehealthinsurance.com to get a feel for the cost and options available.

All the best.
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Old 11-20-2009, 03:53 PM   #14
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I just got off the phone with Blue Cross.
They gave me good info and some hope of being accepted. Since I have been with them (group coverage) for years and they already have my medical records.
I think I will shoot for the 750 deductible plan and apply for it in the morning.
I was told if I apply now and get accepted I will get 2009 premium prices locked in for one year. There is already an increase price stated for 2010 that I will be exempted from.
Any thoughts for or against this plan, please speak up.
Steve
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:03 PM   #15
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Any thoughts for or against this plan, please speak up.
Steve
Just a question - have you taken a hard look at the need for a 750 deductible? I haven't been following your situation closely, but it is often more cost effective to get a higher deductible - the lower premium cost can more than offset the difference. Plus a higher deductible (and a qualifying policy) would allow you to take advantage of a HSA account.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:21 PM   #16
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Just a question - have you taken a hard look at the need for a 750 deductible? I haven't been following your situation closely, but it is often more cost effective to get a higher deductible - the lower premium cost can more than offset the difference. Plus a higher deductible (and a qualifying policy) would allow you to take advantage of a HSA account.
Rewahoo,
Thank you for speaking up.
I'm trying to consider all plans but this is coming at me pretty fast.
I just learned yesterday about my current options from megacorp.
I did notice I can start with a lower deductible and move my way up with blue cross but they make it more complicated to go from higher to lower. Also, with megacorp covering about 2/3 of my cost this first year (if I get accepted & the stated internet price) which way do you think you would go?
Thanks,
Steve
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:37 PM   #17
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Also, with megacorp covering about 2/3 of my cost this first year (if I get accepted & the stated internet price) which way do you think you would go?
If you chose a slightly higher deductible would what megacorp is paying cover your entire premium for the first year? If that were the case, that's the way I'd lean. However, it sure seems like you are making this major decision in a big hurry. Might be well worth your while to take some time to do more comparisons and take a look at all your options.

FYI, I've had a BC/BS 5,000 deductible HSA policy the past 2 1/2 years and have managed to sock away $10k (tax free) in my HSA account. I paid the few hundred bucks I've had in medical expenses without dipping into the account. I'm hoping I can continue to add to the account and spend those tax free dollars after age 65 on the premiums for a Medicare supplement.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:08 PM   #18
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Thanks easysurfer, I'll check it out.
Should I try to get private coverage before signing the retirement papers or go on cobra then start my search? As soon as accepted the billing from insurance company would start?
Steve

I'd try the private route asap and if it is taking too long or is problematic, you can go on COBRA for a while. You just have to be sure you elect COBRA within the time period allowed.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:10 PM   #19
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Alan,
I'm still waiting on the same thing. That's one reason I haven't signed.
I may end up going out without the formal paper work even being finished. But I know and my HR agrees that I qualify according to the records and dates. As a matter of fact (not actually planned), the last day I work is the day I started working 30 years ago to date. Started Dec. 17, 1979 last day to be there on the clock is Dec. 17, 2009 !!!
What a cool ending, didn't even realize it until yesterday !!!
Steve
PS. Clock is another good reason to retire. Never had an actual clock to punch until maybe 1.5 years ago. With a hand scanner no less. I really hated to see that come to my work place. But not for much longer
You got me thinking and I am going to be officially retiring on Monday March 8th but effectively retiring 5 weeks earlier as I am taking all my accrued vacation. I started work at this company on Monday March 5th, 1979. I hadn't realized it was quite as close until you mentioned your remarkable coincidence of landing on the exact day and month.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:11 PM   #20
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Just a question - have you taken a hard look at the need for a 750 deductible? I haven't been following your situation closely, but it is often more cost effective to get a higher deductible - the lower premium cost can more than offset the difference. Plus a higher deductible (and a qualifying policy) would allow you to take advantage of a HSA account.
I agree. I did the math on my insurance options and I discovered that a $2000 deductible was the cheapest for me, even if I used the entire deductible. Oddly, the premiums plus the deductible for that plan was cheaper than the premiums plus the deductible for the $500 and $1000 deductible plans. The maximum out of pocket was the same for all three plans. So be sure to do the math. And also consider your own past experience.
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