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Health insurance in retirement
Old 03-21-2012, 09:24 AM   #1
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Health insurance in retirement

How far in advance of retirement should you start shopping for health insurance. DW and myself are turning 62 in January and will need coverage until 65.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:37 AM   #2
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If you currently have coverage through a employer group plan you are entitled to continue that same policy, without subsidy and with a slight administrative surcharge, for 18 months. Then, depending on the state regulations, you can move into a conversion plan. A little more info on your current coverage and state would be helpful.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:06 AM   #3
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Currently in a group HMO plan. Living in Pa.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by escoff View Post
Currently in a group HMO plan. Living in Pa.
If the group plan is in effect when you leave you are eligible for Cobra. This means you continue in the same plan but pay full rate, for 18 months. After that you are eligible for a conversion plan, which is an individual plan specifically designed for people leaving group plans. No guarantee the rates will be reasonable but so far the coverage is guaranteed. As long as you move from the group plan to Cobra within 63 days and from Cobra to conversion within 31 you should not have issues with pre-existing conditions.
See here, here and here for more info and details.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:40 PM   #5
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If you go to a site like ehealthinsurance.com they will only quote you rates for policies that go into effect less than 3 months out. You certainly can still use it to get some idea of what your rates will be but the initial quotes assume you are in good health with no pre-existing conditions.
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:23 PM   #6
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I recently went through this and in my case the premium for individual coverage for was better than the COBRA rates with similar deductibles, etc.

However, the cost of small group coverage was even better, so I formed an LLC for my consulting efforts in retirement (which I was going to do anyway) and the LLC has bought small group coverage and passes on the cost to me and DW.

My premium is about 65% of what the COBRA premiums would have been although the deductibles are a bit higher so it is hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison.

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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When I stopped working my employer considered me to be retired and that allowed me to purchase my health insurance from them. I used COBRA initially and then went into the retiree health plan. When Medicare kicks in I will be able to continue with a supplemental plan through my employer. It is not cheap but it is quality coverage and it is easy. So the short answer is check with your employers first to see what might be available.
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poorgeezer View Post
When I stopped working my employer considered me to be retired and that allowed me to purchase my health insurance from them. I used COBRA initially and then went into the retiree health plan. When Medicare kicks in I will be able to continue with a supplemental plan through my employer. It is not cheap but it is quality coverage and it is easy. So the short answer is check with your employers first to see what might be available.
Good point. I didn't have enough age/years of service to be eligible for coverage as a retiree so it wasn't a consideration.
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:51 PM   #9
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I found out that I was FI (after visiting this site) and knew I had to get out of mega pharma before my head or heart exploded. Before discussing my plan to leave w/ HR and my National sales manager - I applied for private health insurance. It took about 3 weeks of back and forth/asking for more info etc before I got the "you are in" call from under writing. What a relief that was! Almost as exciting as the call I got back in the 80s that I was hired!

But as a side note when I retired in 06 my family insurance was right around $326./month. Now it is $900./month! There has to be a breaking point for this kind of inflation.....I hope
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:28 AM   #10
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Can anyone recommend a health insurance company in New York that has good coverage and rates for people who are not working and need health insurance? I found out that while Cobra has another 18 months extension, the costs are supposed to go up 100-150%.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:43 AM   #11
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When I was working my employer used Empire Blue. We were satisfied with their claims handling, but I can't speak as to their rates for individuals.
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Old 03-27-2012, 12:37 PM   #12
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NY has a "guaranteed issue" individual policy. The coverage is determined by the state and the prices are regulated. You can find details here Health Insurance Information For New York Consumers When we had that policy it was better than nothing, but just barely. You may find your Cobra policy to be better and cost effective.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:54 AM   #13
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Thanks all for your suggestions. Seems like healthy NY is the least expensive however cannot convert to it until I have exhausted cobra. The other plans have monthly premiums about what I expect to pay for cobra and they are HMO's!! Cannot believe that Cobra is a "deal" at approx $1,500 a month! Incredible! I have never been so anxious to reach 65!!! HA!!
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:24 AM   #14
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Two websites that will help
Health Insurance - Find Affordable Health Insurance Plans and Buy Medical Coverage Online for information on plans & prices
Health Insurance and Coverage Help for Consumers Everywhere for information on your healthcare in your state.

Call a local insurance agent right now. Their fees are covered by the insurance companies & do not affect your premiums. They can help direct you to the right insurance plan & also help you understand how different plans define & treat pre-exisiting conditions. All the best.
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