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Old 01-01-2009, 09:19 AM   #21
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The trouble with Health insurance is you pay it your whole life and never use it when you are young.
The problem with "health insurance" in the US is that it generally isn't true insurance. Insurance is bought to cover an unanticipated and large expense. If you are young and planning to have children, then OB/gyn/perinatal costs shouldn't be categorized as "unanticipated." Likewise, checkups, the occasional small surgery, etc are neither unanticipated nor large expenses, yet we want them to be covered in a national system.

The high deductible/catastrophic care plans are closer to true insurance.
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:35 AM   #22
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Hello Group,
I plan to retire in 12 months. One of my biggest concerns is health care cost. I'm sure all of you know all about that problem. Without being to political, do you think the up coming government plans will be a knight in shinning armor for retirees and future retirees? I've tried to read the obama plans but realize we will have to wait and see if any of the promises become reality.
I was going to post something optimistic, but I guess that deep inside I have some serious doubts. In 2007, I came into enough money to be financially independent, yet I am still working against my will until I am eligible for lifetime medical through my work. I could afford to retire now if the private health insurance situation for Americans wasn't spiralling out of control.

I will be 61 years old in June, and feel old and tired and would love to retire right now. If upcoming government plans become the knight in shining armor for retirees, I will feel like such a chump!! I guess I don't really believe this is a sure thing, and the fact that I am still working bears that out.

The new administration has some daunting challenges, including the economic mess, of course, and I would imagine that universal medical will not be the #1 priority.
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:42 AM   #23
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I worked for an employer where the largest health care expense were those associated with child bearing.

SamClem, prenatal and infant health care is the best 'investment' in health care we can make. I am in my late 60s, when I entered my child bearing years little could be done to save weak infants. Now they receive expensive intensive care. The more we do to prevent the need for this service the better off the infants will be and the lower our health care expenditure. Immunizations should be provided for free for all ages. These health care services, because they are very cost effective, should be included.

I am not supportive of services that result in multiple births in a national insurance program.

I do agree that, with the exception of the above, insurance should be targeted to cover the major risks. I don't think fruitless hospital care should be covered as I think this is one area where our system needs a back bone.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:19 PM   #24
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SamClem, prenatal and infant health care is the best 'investment' in health care we can make.
I agree that dollars spent here have a huge payoff. But, they are not unanticipated and/or large expenses, and for that reason they would not normally be thought of as an expense to be covered by insurance.

It's a semantic issue. When people want the majority of health care expenses to be paid by others, it may be best to just call it "public health care" rather than "insurance."
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:21 PM   #25
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I will be 61 years old in June, and feel old and tired and would love to retire right now. If upcoming government plans become the knight in shining armor for retirees, I will feel like such a chump!! I guess I don't really believe this is a sure thing, and the fact that I am still working bears that out.
W2R,
If you need to retire now, you should do that and not break your back over lifetime free medical. I doubt seriously that retirees will come out extremely well under the Obama administration, try as they might. The reality is that end of life costs far exceed child bearing costs, and those costs are currently covered, for the most part, by insurance.

All I'm saying is assess this from a health-related perspective rather than a financial one. Will you say at the end of your life, I'm glad I worked that extra year to cover my medical costs, or will you say, I'm glad I retired early enough to enjoy it and that there is just enough money left to pass a small inheritance onto my family or favorite charities

I retired at 59, not because I hated the work, but because it was no longer healthy for me to stay there. And I was tired, and not interested in earning more money just for the principle of earning it.

So think about it, and come on in, the water's fine.

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Old 01-01-2009, 12:31 PM   #26
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W2R, imagine you work three more years, get your lifetime medical benefit, and then the next day the "Free Healthcare for All Americans Act of 2012" is signed into law.

I don't think healthcare costs can go up faster than inflation for much longer, and I do see changes on the horizon.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:32 PM   #27
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W2R, imagine you work three more years, get your lifetime medical benefit, and then the next day the "Free Healthcare for All Americans Act of 2012" is signed into law.
I think she will be eligible for retiree medical late this year -- she won't need to work for three more years.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:43 PM   #28
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W2R, imagine you work three more years, get your lifetime medical benefit, and then the next day the "Free Healthcare for All Americans Act of 2012" is signed into law.

.
Accessible healthcare for all Amercans hopefully will come to be. But, I can guarantee you it won't be free!
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:36 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Stevewc View Post
Hello Group,
I plan to retire in 12 months. One of my biggest concerns is health care cost. I'm sure all of you know all about that problem. Without being to political, do you think the up coming government plans will be a knight in shinning armor for retirees and future retirees? I've tried to read the obama plans but realize we will have to wait and see if any of the promises become reality.
Thanks for your thoughts,
Steve
It seems to me that medicare in its current form is going to take up increasing chunks of taxes. I don't see congress/Obama making it any more generous for over-65 people.

I think they will focus on expanding coverage for children. They will probably do something about uninsured adults like expanded high risk pools or allowing people to buy into Medicare at "standard" cost. This can be important to a young ER, especially if you already have a health problem.

I'd look at the cost of pre-65 insurance and Med-supp after that, and just work until I can afford it.
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:48 PM   #30
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The problem with "health insurance" in the US is that it generally isn't true insurance. Insurance is bought to cover an unanticipated and large expense. If you are young and planning to have children, then OB/gyn/perinatal costs shouldn't be categorized as "unanticipated." Likewise, checkups, the occasional small surgery, etc are neither unanticipated nor large expenses, yet we want them to be covered in a national system.

The high deductible/catastrophic care plans are closer to true insurance.
This makes sense. Most Americans hear that medical costs are 16% of GDP and don't realize that means that "on average" they will spend about 20% of their lifetime incomes on medical care. Our costs are so chopped up between employer, direct, premiums, Medicare taxes, and other taxes that we rarely think about the total cost.

If I were in the market for individual medical insurance (and I will be a couple years from now), I'm sure that I would look at high deductible plans pretty seriously.

I'd be okay with the gov't replacing Medicare and Medicaid with universal catastrphic insurance, where a "catastrophe" is defined as spending more than 20% of your gross income on medical care. But that isn't going to happen because of the first paragraph above.
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:50 PM   #31
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(snip) I do agree that, with the exception of the above, insurance should be targeted to cover the major risks. I don't think fruitless hospital care should be covered as I think this is one area where our system needs a back bone.
But who decides when it is fruitless? Three years ago my mom was on life support for more than a month after heart surgery, suffered a number of setbacks and was hospitalized all told between six and seven weeks. Medical care might have been declared "fruitless" any time during that six weeks (or before she had the bypass surgery) and she probably would never have seen her 80th birthday. Since that didn't happen, she is still with us and in fact has pretty much fully recovered. I don't say there are no problems with our current system, that would obviously not be true, but it makes me nervous that denying medical care to sick people could be perceived as getting a backbone, rather than a death sentence passed by who-knows-who, with no appeals allowed. There must be a better way than telling people, "we could treat you, but it's too expensive, so go ahead and die."
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:56 PM   #32
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In 2007, I came into enough money to be financially independent, yet I am still working against my will until I am eligible for lifetime medical through my work. I could afford to retire now if the private health insurance situation for Americans wasn't spiralling out of control.

I will be 61 years old in June, and feel old and tired and would love to retire right now. If upcoming government plans become the knight in shining armor for retirees, I will feel like such a chump!! I guess I don't really believe this is a sure thing, and the fact that I am still working bears that out.
At least you only have had to wrestle with this decision for 1 year, and I think you are right in working the extra year. If you expect to stay healthy then that "lost" year will be well worth it if it gives you the peace of mind I expect it will. Even if UHC or guaranteed insurance for all or whatever comes into being don't fret about missing out on it. I decided long ago that being angry because others got something I didn't just isn't worth it.
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:12 PM   #33
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(snip)I worked for an employer where the largest health care expense were those associated with child bearing.
SamClem, prenatal and infant health care is the best 'investment' in health care we can make.(snip) I agree that dollars spent here have a huge payoff. But, they are not unanticipated and/or large expenses, and for that reason they would not normally be thought of as an expense to be covered by insurance.

I agree that it's not unexpected that women will get pregnant, but it is always possible that a pregnancy will not go as expected (e.g. premature birth, c-section required to save the baby, and many other possibilities). The resulting expenses can be very high indeed, especially if the child is permanently affected by problems at birth, requiring life-long medical care as a result.
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It's a semantic issue. When people want the majority of health care expenses to be paid by others, it may be best to just call it "public health care" rather than "insurance."
I am not sure anyone here is talking about having the majority of one's health care expenses "paid by others", which to me implies that one is not paying anything oneself, but rather some form of a pool into which everyone pays and out of which everyone's health care expenses come. I would describe that as "all pay for all" rather than "my cost paid by others". But if you want to call it "public health care", I don't have a problem. After all, we call the schools "public education", and they are also (more or less) an "all pay for all" system.
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:23 PM   #34
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I read an article a few days ago where some of the obama team mentioned they did not want to make the same mistakes on the health care plan that passed administrations (clinton) had made. Number one thing was move quickly during their honey moon phase in office. Not sure if we will all like what they do but it did give me hope that they might make progress during the first year. Like others posted, I just need something more affordable. Another bright side to retireing early, I would help create a job opening for someone else. Its all how you look at it.
Thanks to everyone,
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:36 PM   #35
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I read an article a few days ago where some of the obama team mentioned they did not want to make the same mistakes on the health care plan that passed administrations (clinton) had made.
The Clinton healthcare initiative failed primarily because the planning was not open to the public and because it looked like the government was going to control the type and level of care provided. I think President Obama will likely avoid the first problem (he says he favors openness when building policy, and I have no reason to believe otherwise), but I don't know how his team can avoid the second problem if government is to be the payor and we are trying to control costs. Little improvements around the margin (e.g. electronic medical records) are not going to make a big diference. Someone in the government is going to have to tell Granny that she can't have her new hip because she's 70.
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:37 PM   #36
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Like others posted, I just need something more affordable. Another bright side to retireing early, I would help create a job opening for someone else. Its all how you look at it.
Good point. If I could have affordable life insurance when I left my job I would leave today and reduce the unemployment ranks also
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:40 PM   #37
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Another bright side to retireing early, I would help create a job opening for someone else. Its all how you look at it.
This tends to be my response to folks who say people who retire early are shiftless, lazy and selfish people who are parasites on the economy. But what could be more selfless than someone who no longer NEEDS a job voluntarily giving it up for someone who needs it?
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:44 PM   #38
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Someone in the government is going to have to tell Granny that she can't have her new hip because she's 70.
Unless private health insurance is still there - like in the UK, Australia and others. The Queen's mother had 3 hip replacements that weren't on the National Health.

Lady Thatcher (even when she was Mrs Thatcher and Prime Minister) always went private and justified this went questioned by saying she was not putting an additional burden on the National Health System (yeah, right, nothing to do with waiting lists).

I always had private health insurance through work when I lived in the UK
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:48 PM   #39
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This tends to be my response to folks who say people who retire early are shiftless, lazy and selfish people who are parasites on the economy.
You must move in different circles - everyone I know are envious of early retirees and appreciate what it takes to be able to RE.
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:51 PM   #40
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You must move in different circles - everyone I know are envious of early retirees and appreciate what it takes to be able to RE.
Oh, most people I know probably would be envious as well. But for some people, envy means tearing others down because they don't have to be as miserable as you.

People who say things like I mentioned earlier aren't the norm, but they are out there, and it's to them I say: "isn't it MORE selfish to keep a job you no longer need financially than it is to give it to someone who *does* need it financially?"
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