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View Poll Results: Would you FIRE if you had Group Health Ins offered to you today?
Yes 56 80.00%
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Would you FIRE if you had Group Health Ins?
Old 06-16-2007, 05:14 AM   #1
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Would you FIRE if you had Group Health Ins?

This is a Poll for People who are approaching FIRE but have not yet stopped working. The question is:


We are so close to our target portfolio amount that I can almost reach out and grab it. But my target amount is based on my small pension and group health benes offered by the company. Of course, If I quit work today, I would still get my pension, but would have to wait till 65. That would mean that I would have an extra 4 years of income to fund (than my original plan) plus I would have to cover the amount that my pension would cover from 55 - 65 till it kicked in. This extra amount is about 12.5 % of out yearly income. I could probably manage that, but paying for health insurance would really cramp things. Since we are both fairly healthy, the premiums would not be too bad now (but still a fairly large extra expense). But if anything happened to one of us, the premium would probably balloon.

If you were offered Group Health Ins today for you and your spouse (for 2k/yr premium) or for You and Family ($3k/yr premium) Would you FIRE in the next 6 months?
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Old 06-16-2007, 05:21 AM   #2
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I'd go in a heartbeat!
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Old 06-16-2007, 05:36 AM   #3
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Health Insurance is the main issue in us retiring now. If we could get guaranteed group type insurance for less than $9K/yr, we would retire immediately. Unfortunately, DW has chronic back issue, and we are investigating options for insurance.
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Old 06-16-2007, 06:21 AM   #4
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100% YES! Great question....

I have just pass FI this year and am waiting on the proper situation to obtain health insurance (aka asset protection): then I will RE. The DW has already been turned down once when she tried to get insurance outside my employer group plan. That was our first step towards RE but not a successful one. The high risk pool in my state requires 6 months w/o insurance: not good. I may have to go there one day but I just don't have the brass in the proper place yet.

One option is that I await on a "wonderful pink slip" which will allow me to file for immediate retirement and purchase employee health insurance (but at around $10k per year).

I believe access to health insurance outside the employer is the biggest barrier to RE. Next time you get around a stack of personal finance books, just try to look up this subject. IMHO they all tend to center around the investing part (how to get the most $) but lack on how to protect the $.

If I could get the deal for $2k or $3k per year, I would have done it before I finished typing this reply!

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Old 06-16-2007, 07:36 AM   #5
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"Affordable" health insurance is my biggest variable and it's a big obstacle in me bailing. I'm looking at a 2-fer for Texas' High Risk Pool. There's nothing "wrong" with us except for our taking blood pressure medication. I remember the cost as being about $7,000/year with a $5,000 deductible. They are individual policies so I'd have to double this. The prices would go up as we aged until Medicare kicked in.

I listen carefully to all the presidential candidates' plans for universal health care and I wonder if the "idiots" (I think it a fair term to describe all polititians from either or both parties) realize what that could mean to millions of boomers who suddenly decide the don't need j*bs anymore for heathcare and RE.
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Old 06-16-2007, 08:47 AM   #6
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I didn't cast a vote in the poll since I FIRE'd a little over 2 months ago. However, I'll toss in my 2 cents for what it's worth.

One of the reasons I was able to retire @ 50, was because of the health insurance through my (now) former employer. They allow retirees to keep their medical & dental insurance, and the retirees cost is 25% of the premium. (while w*rking we paid 20%) The annual cost for me (single coverage) is just shy of $1700.

If they didn't offer that coverage and I had to get my own policy, I still could have made it, but it would have crimped my style somewhat.

So, yes, it played a big part in my decision to FIRE!
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Old 06-16-2007, 08:53 AM   #7
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So heres a dumb, completely uninformed question:

What does it take to create and join a group health plan?

Could ER.ORG put together 500 members, apply as a group and offer a health plan? I've heard about RV'ers, IEEE and other organizations doing such a thing...

Hmmm?
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Old 06-16-2007, 08:58 AM   #8
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Just a few thoughts on the health insurance issue, again.

First, check out your state insurers. There may be a guaranteed issue policy through BC/BS. It will be expensive, but it will issue.

Second, even if your employer allows you to contiue the policy after employment at this time, they may cancel that option in the future.

Thus, if you decide to go early, bare bones needs a little cushion to purchase health insurance, if necessary, until medicare kicks in (age 65).

Finally, the answer is no. We have a group health insurance policy, but I keep working (not an offensive word to me). I'm part time now and actually enjoying it, although may well quit flat out if we decide to travel for an extend period. But if I had to work full time, I wouldn't.

Tio z
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Old 06-16-2007, 09:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
If you were offered Group Health Ins today for you and your spouse (for 2k/yr premium) or for You and Family ($3k/yr premium) Would you FIRE in the next 6 months?
I'm still working. My company pays the major portion of our family health insurance. However, my share (minor portion) is still significantly more than $3k/year.

I voted yes. But I doubt I would ever find anything close to 3k/yr in the US.
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Old 06-16-2007, 09:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
So heres a dumb, completely uninformed question:

What does it take to create and join a group health plan?

Could ER.ORG put together 500 members, apply as a group and offer a health plan? I've heard about RV'ers, IEEE and other organizations doing such a thing...

Hmmm?
Each state has their own laws. One of Bush-II's gifts to Texas while governor was a revamp of the heath insurance laws. There used to be various professional groups that offerred group plans for their members. When the law was changed, only employers could offer group plans. The "others" had the honor of dealing directly with the insurance companies as individuals. That allows the insurance company to "cherry pick" who they cover and the rest are forced into the "high risk" plan.

That's why Texas has one of the lowest heath insurance coverage rates in the nation.

Bush's proposal for universal heath care would essentially create an even worse outcome by destroying employer plans. By forcing companies to "pay people to buy their coverage," the heathy will find lower rates outside their company plan and they'll pocket the savings. As they leave the plan, the rates to those remaining will rise plus provide an incentive for companies to discontinue heath plans because so many of their employees won't be in theirs.

I don't intend to hijack this into a political thread but we can all be seriously damaged by supposedly well-intentioned politicos.
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Old 06-16-2007, 09:40 AM   #11
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I pulled the plug on corporate 2.5 years ago with a health package. Having watched it disintegrate over time while working and since, I came up with my own back up plan. Having a small Roth and after tax monies in my 401K plan (total is currently 100K) held in abeyance is what I can use for health care if need be. If my company plan goes bye bye, I can afford the premiums hopefully. If the insurance lasts, once I hit Medicare age I have a good size chunk of change to add to the playtime kitty. Sadly to say, I do not trust Corporate America to continue funding my health care.
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Old 06-16-2007, 11:23 AM   #12
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I did not vote as I have already pulled the plug. A 100% paid health plan allowed me to do it at 55. I may not have quite the portfolio I would like to have, but the insurance benefit will let me get by with a draw of about 3%. When the mortgage is paid off in about 4 years, I will be able to cut that percentage back quite a bit and that should cover insurance if I have to do so. I do not trust corporate not to screw with this, but the chance to bail out was too good to pass up. Wish me luck.
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Old 06-16-2007, 11:41 AM   #13
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I'll have to pay my own premiums for 5 or 6 years (continuation policy is assured). I made a guess as to what that will cost using 11% inflation per year, then calculated how much I'd need to set aside in a short term bond fund to cover those premiums, self-annuitizing.

That amount (like $80k if I recall) is subtracted from my nest egg balance when running FC or other projections. In other words, health insurance is setting me back in my march to FIRE by $80k in today's dollars.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 06-16-2007, 12:11 PM   #14
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Yes, Yes, Yes, I would retire today if I could continue with my company's Health Insurance.

HI will be available to me in 32 months when I am eligible to RE from the company at age 55. If I quit now I would have to wait until 62 to get my pension of $38k/yr but still no insurance. We have enough saved to do it without too many worries. Unfortunately the one BIG worry we have is HI.
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Old 06-16-2007, 12:18 PM   #15
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I applied for individual health insurance a full 2 years ahead of my target retirement date. When I got the call from my agent that I had been accepted, I looked something like this>>>>>>>>. That call enabled me to proceed this my plans. Without it, I would still be working.
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Old 06-16-2007, 12:34 PM   #16
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I voted yes as affordable insurance will be the biggest obsticle we face in reaching FIRE.

With no help from an employer covering ourselves for nearly 20 years of unkown health care premiums is daunting. If we could buy our on insurance with the tax breaks the employer gets with the benefits of group coverage DH could probably cut to part time in a couple if years - just to postpone draw down of the portfolio and left it grow. Our current plans are to shoot for seven years out. We are both very heathy and qualify to reasionable coverage now but without group coverage if you fall ill your rates can skyrocket when you can least afford them. The tax component is huge too.
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Old 06-16-2007, 12:48 PM   #17
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Ding Ding Ding. Health insurance is the only reason I am not FIREd. It makes me grumpy thinking about it.
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Old 06-16-2007, 05:54 PM   #18
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A yes vote here, because the only reason I'll be able to retire within the next year or so is that I can stay on my employer's group health. Paying 100%, but I'll have decent coverage.

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Old 06-16-2007, 06:01 PM   #19
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Ding Ding Ding.

Hey...wheres my royalty payment...?
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Old 06-16-2007, 06:37 PM   #20
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DW went to work for 5 years after 27 years of raising our family at the local school dist. as a sec.
The policy is that if you work for a minimum of 5 year you can keep the family plan for life and only pay 10%.
So we are paying about 1500 for the year which made ER very possible.

No wonder school taxes are what they are.
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