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Health Ins Question
Old 10-30-2008, 08:11 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
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Health Ins Question

Will retire at age 56 from career job of 31 years on Jan 1. The only real retirement benefit will be health insurance and it's kind of expensive, but with wifes previous health issues, cannot afford "not" to take it. One reason I'm retiring is that I've been offered another job. New job offers free health insurance for employee (me), and dependents are extra $ per month.

So, I'll have two health insurance policies on me, and one on wife. How do I handle having two health policies? Can I make claims on both? I'm not trying to "make" money on them, but it would be nice to have zero health costs for me (except for premium)
any ideas or thoughts?


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Old 10-30-2008, 08:37 PM   #2
Recycles dryer sheets
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I'd be very careful here.

I'd bet that it is against the contractual terms (or law?) to join your new health plan while keeping coverage on your old plan. If so, joining the new plan could irrevocably cancel your eligibility under the old plan. If that happened, and you then left your new employer, you could find yourself without medical insurance after any COBRA period expires (at least until Medicare kicks in at age 65).

If it were me, I'd get this cleared up before retiring!

- plsprius

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Old 10-30-2008, 08:40 PM   #3
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DavidG, welcome to the board and congrats on approaching FIRE.

As I understand it, you can't make claims on both since the carriers have "coordination of benefits" meaning they won't double pay for the same service. However, if a service is covered by one carrier but not by another, you can bill the covering carrier for that service only.

I'm reading your post to say that retirement health insurance is available only for you through your soon-to-be former employer (although you pay). And you need to hold on to the old policy to assure that your wife is covered. Did I get it right?

It's very uncommon for an employer not to offer family coverage, though you may have to pay the difference in premiums yourself. In fact, I thought that some states require that dependent insurance be offered, at least for large groups. I assume you discussed this with the benefits people.

Tough to have to double-pay for this but you are wise to maintain her coverage and when you finally do retire, you have the benefit of knowing that you have access to coverage. Maybe by then, there will be some legislative relief.
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

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 10-31-2008, 06:56 AM   #4
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I think it is common for people to have coverage under two policies. BCBS is always inquiring whether you have an additional policy - I suspect they all try to be "secondary" insurers. I wonder what happens if you have two policies that say under their terms that they will pick up what the other won't. How do the courts decide who is responsible as primary?
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:13 AM   #5
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Having health insurance from two providers is a waste. If your old employer is offering you coverage as a retiree, you should consider taking it, since it will probably continue until you are eligible for medicare. Your new employer may offer a cash incentive if you decline their coverage. Under coordination of benefits, you cannot collect more than the cost of your care. You prob. cannot work long enough to get retiree medical from the new employer, so if you want to Retire Early, before 65, you will need some coverage to bridge this gap. Also unless the new employer is a large company, they may underwrite you to see if you qualify.
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