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2012 FIRE - Just hit a huge pothole
Old 02-14-2011, 01:09 PM   #1
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2012 FIRE - Just hit a huge pothole

Since 2007, the DW and I have been targeting FIRE in July 2012 (@ my 55th birthday). We have used every retirement calculator out there, and after finding this GREAT place, been using FIRECalc every possible way. All results show no problem.
We even met with 2 different financial planners to check our progress and both were in agreement with our goal. For 2 years we tracked ever penny spent to make sure our expense figures were good (and we doubled those just to be safe).
We were planning to retire without health insurance because neither of us had any issues. We planned to rely on COBRA to start, then a high deductible plan (generous allotment in the expense plan for this) until Medicare kicked in. Risky maybe but the desire to FIRE was strong!!
Well, you probably guessed it. At a recent routine physical, I came out with a diagnosis of T-2 diabetes. I have worked through the emotion tree (shock, anger, resentment, denial and acceptance). While it has only been a few months, I am managing it well with diet, exercise and pills (versus insulin).
So now what does that do to my FIRE plan in 17 months? I am not sure! Certainly a pre-existing condition knocks me out of most private insurance coverage –though looks like there might be some that will allow it after a waiting period. The routine cost of managing it (testing and medication) will fit within our FIRE Plan. It is just potential complications from this or another issue that is the concern.
In hindsight, not getting the physical would have been smart (short term thinking) but I believe someone here previously implied that just being over 50 is a “pre-existing condition.” Of course ignoring the disease for 18 months would probably not be a smart thing. Some of the reading I have done, indicate that even well controlled T-2 reduces your life expectancy so that impacts the FIRECalc.
Fortunately no one in the work place or even very folks outside the work place know of the July ’12 FIRE target, which is good. Another good reason not to announce your intentions too soon.
So for now, while I’d like to be on the 2012 list, I think we are back to the calculating and planning stages. One thought is that a bigger nest egg cannot hurt, especially while we see what happens with the Healthcare bill in the near future. Of course finding some post FIRE job with benefits is another option but one I was hoping to avoid.

Thanks for listening
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:42 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear of the diagnosis and potential delay to your FIRE plans, but it looks like you've got your revised plan off to a good start, especially in managing the disease. I'm glad you had the physical, even if it did wind up being a delaying factor in your plans. Best to you!
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
We were planning to retire without health insurance because neither of us had any issues. We planned to rely on COBRA to start, then a high deductible plan (generous allotment in the expense plan for this) until Medicare kicked in. Risky maybe but the desire to FIRE was strong!!
Either way your diabetes would have arisen as an underwriting issue, so better to deal with it now. Until health care reform is established, it is almost always risky to count on the individual market being there for you.

With good control, your type 2 DM will not likely cause a big increase in your risk profile unless you already have target-organ disease. So focus on lifestyle issues and the prescribed course of treatment. Do not leave yourself uninsured after Cobra even if it means continuing to work (part time perhaps). Pre-existing illness exclusions will hopefully disappear unless the current reform is ruined.

It will probably work out OK - stay flexible.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:55 PM   #4
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Sorry this slowed down your plans but it's good that you are getting treated .
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:01 PM   #5
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I know it is frustrating and dissappointing to have a medical condition throw a monkey wrench into the plans but it sounds like you have a good start on an alternative plan. It is good to have the option to fall back and punt.
My plans have been delayed at least 2-3 years due to needing medical insurance to cover 3 back surgeries with the 3rd one coming up soon to fuse my lower back. Once I get past a year from that surgery to insure it works without further complications I will retire at 63/4. Then I plan on traveling and taking a few long motorcycle trips before it's too late.

Good Luck, Cheers!
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:29 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear the news. That sucks!

You could move to NJ, NY or MA which have community rating plans and do not exclude people with pre-existing conditions.

We plan to leave NJ for CO and getting individual insurance there is one of my biggest concerns. If we don't get it, we'll have to stay put in NJ.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:06 PM   #7
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jwkde, I am so sorry to hear that your ER plans are messed up and hope there is a solution, though I don't know what to suggest.

A lot of us can really sympathize because we weren't able to retired when we wanted, due to health insurance issues. In my case, I was pretty healthy and financially independent at age 59 but had to work an extra two years in order to become eligible for retirement from my federal job, and gain access to lifetime group medical coverage. I know that my story and those of others don't help your situation, but anyway you're not alone. I hope that you can figure out something so that you don't have to wait so long to retire.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:33 PM   #8
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Adult onset type 2 diabetes is, in the United States at least, an acquired condition in the majority of cases. Obesity and accompanying physical inactivity have been implicated as root causes of this type of diabetes. If this is the case, the solutions are difficult, but there are solutions. Even with a SERIOUS program of exercise and a diabetic diet, many individuals find it near impossible to shed the pounds beyond a certain initial weight loss. This would be the first step. Although it sounds drastic, gastric bypass is often covered by insurance because it is recognized to be a cure for Type 2 DM, even if your weight is not greatly overweight. Of course if weight is not an issue and you are in the small minority where it is genetic, I apologize, and I shall fade in the distance red-faced.

I am glad you are receiving care for this now, rather than not knowing.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:56 PM   #9
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Spouse was diagnosed with diabetes three years ago. Lost a lot of weight two years ago and is off the medication. It's amazing what losing 80 lbs will do....
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:59 PM   #10
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Hang in there. The worst problem to have is the problem that you don't know about. Now you can react and plan.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swakyaby View Post
Adult onset type 2 diabetes is, in the United States at least, an acquired condition in the majority of cases. Obesity and accompanying physical inactivity have been implicated as root causes of this type of diabetes. If this is the case, the solutions are difficult, but there are solutions. Even with a SERIOUS program of exercise and a diabetic diet, many individuals find it near impossible to shed the pounds beyond a certain initial weight loss. This would be the first step. Although it sounds drastic, gastric bypass is often covered by insurance because it is recognized to be a cure for Type 2 DM, even if your weight is not greatly overweight. Of course if weight is not an issue and you are in the small minority where it is genetic, I apologize, and I shall fade in the distance red-faced.

I am glad you are receiving care for this now, rather than not knowing.
Great post. T-2 is know as a disease of disuse. Knowledge is power. Knowing you have it allows you take steps to get rid of it. Exercise can go a long way to eliminating T-2.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swakyaby View Post
Adult onset type 2 diabetes is, in the United States at least, an acquired condition in the majority of cases. Obesity and accompanying physical inactivity have been implicated as root causes of this type of diabetes. If this is the case, the solutions are difficult, but there are solutions. Even with a SERIOUS program of exercise and a diabetic diet, many individuals find it near impossible to shed the pounds beyond a certain initial weight loss. This would be the first step. Although it sounds drastic, gastric bypass is often covered by insurance because it is recognized to be a cure for Type 2 DM, even if your weight is not greatly overweight. Of course if weight is not an issue and you are in the small minority where it is genetic, I apologize, and I shall fade in the distance red-faced.

I am glad you are receiving care for this now, rather than not knowing.
Genetics plays a major role in determining your risk for Type II diabetes. Obesity, diet and exercise can contribute to "unmasking" your genetic predisposition - but many people with type II diabetes are not obese, do exercise and watch their diets. Only about 50% of patients diagnosed with Type II are obese.

DD
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:50 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DblDoc View Post
Genetics plays a major role in determining your risk for Type II diabetes. Obesity, diet and exercise can contribute to "unmasking" your genetic predisposition - but many people with type II diabetes are not obese, do exercise and watch their diets. Only about 50% of patients diagnosed with Type II are obese.

DD

I am not in anyway questioning you but could you provide a link to something that states this that I could use to show DW.

My grandfather was diagnosed T2 late in life and died an ugly death from it in 1982. He was always very over weight until he started taking insulin.

I have lived in fear of it though I am currently not t2 as my A1c is 5.0. I test my blood glucose occasionally and it really varies from 70 to 95 at the highest. When it hits 95 it is very scary.

I do exercise regularly. I have also always been at the top of my weight range or even 10lbs above even when I ran 5 miles a day which I did for about seven years. I walk briskly now about 3 to 4 miles most days. It seems to be the weight I am destined to be. DW says if I become diabetic it is my fault alone and genetics plays no part in it. Since she is the wife I am of course wrong unless I can show credible medical evidence otherwise.

This is part of the reason we applied for and purchased individual health Ins over a year before ESR and leaving Mega Cr*p. If we can manage to pay the premium maybe they will pay a claim if we ever have one which we know we will.

Thank you in advance for any additional info you can provide.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jwkde View Post
Since 2007, the DW and I have been targeting FIRE in July 2012 (@ my 55th birthday). We have used every retirement calculator out there, and after finding this GREAT place, been using FIRECalc every possible way. All results show no problem.
We even met with 2 different financial planners to check our progress and both were in agreement with our goal. For 2 years we tracked ever penny spent to make sure our expense figures were good (and we doubled those just to be safe).
We were planning to retire without health insurance because neither of us had any issues. We planned to rely on COBRA to start, then a high deductible plan (generous allotment in the expense plan for this) until Medicare kicked in. Risky maybe but the desire to FIRE was strong!!
Well, you probably guessed it. At a recent routine physical, I came out with a diagnosis of T-2 diabetes. I have worked through the emotion tree (shock, anger, resentment, denial and acceptance). While it has only been a few months, I am managing it well with diet, exercise and pills (versus insulin).
So now what does that do to my FIRE plan in 17 months? I am not sure! Certainly a pre-existing condition knocks me out of most private insurance coverage –though looks like there might be some that will allow it after a waiting period. The routine cost of managing it (testing and medication) will fit within our FIRE Plan. It is just potential complications from this or another issue that is the concern.
In hindsight, not getting the physical would have been smart (short term thinking) but I believe someone here previously implied that just being over 50 is a “pre-existing condition.” Of course ignoring the disease for 18 months would probably not be a smart thing. Some of the reading I have done, indicate that even well controlled T-2 reduces your life expectancy so that impacts the FIRECalc.
Fortunately no one in the work place or even very folks outside the work place know of the July ’12 FIRE target, which is good. Another good reason not to announce your intentions too soon.
So for now, while I’d like to be on the 2012 list, I think we are back to the calculating and planning stages. One thought is that a bigger nest egg cannot hurt, especially while we see what happens with the Healthcare bill in the near future. Of course finding some post FIRE job with benefits is another option but one I was hoping to avoid.

Thanks for listening

Depending on your state is a high risk pool an option? You might have to go without Ins for six months however which I know is very scary.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:58 PM   #15
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DblDoc,

Pardon, I was simply referencing Harrison's "Principles of Internal Medicine." It states that in the United States, "80 to 90 percent of non-ketotic diabetics are obese. Obesity is an important contributory factor in these patients, predominantly through its influences on insulin sensitivity. Obesity exacerbates the diabetic state, and in many cases diabetes can be ameliorated by weight reduction." The author goes on to state, "non-insulin-dependent diabetes is a form of diabetes which usually begins in middle life or beyond. The typical patient is overweight."
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:47 AM   #16
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Sorry to read this. Take care Badger.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Badger View Post

My plans have been delayed at least 2-3 years due to needing medical insurance to cover 3 back surgeries with the 3rd one coming up soon to fuse my lower back.
Good Luck, Cheers!
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:48 AM   #17
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I had a similar experience when I retired 4 years ago at 48. If you have group insurance now (for more than a year or two), and take COBRA for the full 18 months, then HIPAA rules force insurers to take you with no exclusion period for pre-existing conditions, although at a higher premium.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:59 AM   #18
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Sorry to hear the news. Good thing it was discovered now vs. later (maybe a day after ER).

Now for Plan B - adjust lifestyle as directed by your doctor and plan some nice longer vacations and/or hobbies now with the possibility of updating the ER timing.

Best of luck.
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:14 AM   #19
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I suggest reading our buying private health insurance FAQ: (FAQ archive) Buying Private Health Insurance

When you are coming off of a group plan under HIPAA (federal law) every single state has to provide a health insurance option for you. This option may be a risk pool. It may be a HIPAA plan sold by a traditional insurer. It may be a guaranteed issue state. What is dramatically different among the states is cost. Some states provide extremely expensive plans with limited coverage. Some states are much more generous. In any event, you will pay more than you would if you were healthy and could buy on the market.
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:30 AM   #20
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Just to add that some of us are T2 is not due to our "family heritage" or any adverse lifestyle, other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Agent Orange: Diseases Associated with Agent Orange Exposure - Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards

Just to pass on in case somebody in the forum is unaware of the AO situation.
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