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insurance pre-65 questions
Old 12-17-2019, 05:58 AM   #1
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insurance pre-65 questions

I am 61 (wife is 56) and retired this past May via company buyout. I am riding cobra coverage for myself and my wife for the full 18 months, which will put me without insurance Dec 1, 2020. We are paying ~950/month with cobra.

Our company provided us, as part of the buyout, a generous buyout FSA $afety net for premiums and medical expenses along with retirement FSA accounts with an age adjusted balance.

I have been planning on hitting the marketplace for health care for 2021 next fall OR if necessary, feel pretty confident that I could land a job for a few years to get us to medicare.

I could use my company retirement insurance, but our company retirement insurance is very expensive with premiums around $2200/month for married couple, so that is only an option if my back is against the wall. The FSA money provided would not cover us to 65 if we used company insurance (and it is increasing yearly as you might imagine)

Question 1 is about the month of December 2020. I am asking for suggestions or understanding of the process of getting insurance for one month in late 2020 since the marketplace sign up seems to be closed this late in the year for 2020.

Question 2 is my curiosity about the healthcare.gov emails i get that appear to be the path to sign up for the following year. Just looking for feedback on that process to save me pain and keep me on the right path.

Thank you in advance for any feedback.
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Old 12-17-2019, 06:49 AM   #2
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On your question #2, have you looked into the healthcare.gov site at all to see what a potential insurance premium might cost?
Alternatively you could check into healthsherpa.com for some insurance premium quotes.
If you have some decent monies in a Taxable Income account, you could potentially manage your income (MAGI) for qualifying for ACA coverage tax subsidies.
This coverage possibly can be much lower than 950 per month depending also on where you live.
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Old 12-17-2019, 06:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyr View Post
Question 1 is about the month of December 2020. I am asking for suggestions or understanding of the process of getting insurance for one month in late 2020 since the marketplace sign up seems to be closed this late in the year for 2020.

Question 2 is my curiosity about the healthcare.gov emails i get that appear to be the path to sign up for the following year. Just looking for feedback on that process to save me pain and keep me on the right path.

Thank you in advance for any feedback.
Expiry of your cobra coverage counts as a qualifying event to enroll out of the normal period, allowing you to select ACA coverage just for december of 2020, and then also enroll for 2021. You should be able to still browse around for the policies, providers, etc., even if you can't actually purchase right now.

Chances are, even without subsidies, you'll find something with less cost than your current premiums, but with higher deductibles. But it very much depends on your geography and other income.
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:00 AM   #4
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On your question #2, have you looked into the healthcare.gov site at all to see what a potential insurance premium might cost?
I get errors answering my security questions properly, so i'll call the 800 number.

Someone told me that using this site (for him), created a lot of spam on his phone and email account -- hope that is not the case, but I can believe it.

Thanks for your response
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:01 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Aerides View Post
Expiry of your cobra coverage counts as a qualifying event to enroll out of the normal period, allowing you to select ACA coverage just for december of 2020, and then also enroll for 2021. You should be able to still browse around for the policies, providers, etc., even if you can't actually purchase right now.

Chances are, even without subsidies, you'll find something with less cost than your current premiums, but with higher deductibles. But it very much depends on your geography and other income.
Thank you, very helpful
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:08 AM   #6
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healthsherpa.com
That is a great site thank you.

The buyout this year, put me in a high tax bracket and i was concerned about the implications for health marketplace inquiries. I see on healthsherpa that you estimate your 2020 taxes which is wonderful (I was afraid it might be based on previous year) - we'll live on savings/cash and maybe IRA, postpone pension/ss for as long as needed if it keeps us on a low cost for health coverage.
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:40 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bobbyr View Post
I get errors answering my security questions properly, so i'll call the 800 number.

Someone told me that using this site (for him), created a lot of spam on his phone and email account -- hope that is not the case, but I can believe it.

Thanks for your response
You probably will get a ton of emails and calls. I did. I just told them I was more than a year out and they stopped, for the most part.
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by bobbyr View Post
....I could use my company retirement insurance, but our company retirement insurance is very expensive with premiums around $2200/month for married couple, so that is only an option if my back is against the wall. The HSA money provided would not cover us to 65 if we used company insurance (and it is increasing yearly as you might imagine) ...
Just wanted to be sure that you knew that your HSA cannot be used for health insurance premiums with a few exceptions (one of which is COBRA).

Quote:
You canít treat insurance premiums as qualified medical expenses unless the premiums are for:
  1. Long-term care insurance.
  2. Health care continuation coverage (such as coverage under COBRA).
  3. Health care coverage while receiving unemployment compensation under federal or state law.
  4. Medicare and other health care coverage if you were 65 or older (other than premiums for a Medicare supplemental policy, such as Medigap).

The premiums for long-term care insurance (item (1)) that you can treat as qualified medical expenses are subject to limits based on age and are adjusted annually. See Limit on long-term care premiums you can deduct in the instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040).

Items (2) and (3) can be for your spouse or a dependent meeting the requirement for that type of coverage. For item (4), if you, the account beneficiary, arenít 65 or older, Medicare premiums for coverage of your spouse or a dependent (who is 65 or older) generally arenít qualified medical expenses.

Source: https://www.irs.gov/publications/p96...link1000204086
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by bobbyr View Post
I get errors answering my security questions properly, so i'll call the 800 number.

Someone told me that using this site (for him), created a lot of spam on his phone and email account -- hope that is not the case, but I can believe it.

Thanks for your response
You do NOT need to enter any personal information on the healthcare.gov website just to browse plans/prices in your location. All you need to enter is your age, your zip code, gender, and if you are a smoker or not. If you can estimate your annual income, it will estimate how much of a tax credit subsidy you qualify for as well.

Today, you can click on "Get Coverage" at the top of the screen. Then click on "Preview Now" down where it says "See Plans & Prices".

I never signed up for a healthcare.gov account until I had thoroughly investigated all the plans it offered me. It was at that time when I filled out the personal details to set up the account and proceeded with plan selection.
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Old 12-17-2019, 09:13 AM   #10
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Just wanted to be sure that you knew that your HSA cannot be used for health insurance premiums with a few exceptions (one of which is COBRA).
I do know that but thank you...i edited my original post from HSA (which i have a small balance in) to FSA -- which is what i have from the company that I can apply for my cobra premiums...

thanks for the follow up
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Old 12-17-2019, 09:13 AM   #11
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You do NOT need to enter any personal information on the healthcare.gov website just to browse plans/prices in your location. All you need to enter is your age, your zip code, gender, and if you are a smoker or not. If you can estimate your annual income, it will estimate how much of a tax credit subsidy you qualify for as well.

Today, you can click on "Get Coverage" at the top of the screen. Then click on "Preview Now" down where it says "See Plans & Prices".

I never signed up for a healthcare.gov account until I had thoroughly investigated all the plans it offered me. It was at that time when I filled out the personal details to set up the account and proceeded with plan selection.
great to know, thank you
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Old 12-17-2019, 09:52 AM   #12
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You probably will get a ton of emails and calls. I did. I just told them I was more than a year out and they stopped, for the most part.

What is triggering the emails and calls? I created a healthcare.gov account last month then purchased a plan on the exchange. I've gotten 0 phone calls and the only e-mail I've received has been directly related to what I was doing (confirmation that my application was being processed, then status e-mails from the plan I chose, etc).
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Old 12-17-2019, 11:15 AM   #13
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I have been on the ACA for 3.5 years now. I get hundreds of calls every year after signing up for the plan I picked. Funny, they didn't call me back when I was looking for a plan, but after I picked one, they just kept calling and calling. I just don't answer the phone unless I know the number it is coming from. They stop calling around every April after you have already picked a plan from the ACA in December. Go figure.
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Old 12-17-2019, 11:21 AM   #14
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What is triggering the emails and calls? I created a healthcare.gov account last month then purchased a plan on the exchange. I've gotten 0 phone calls and the only e-mail I've received has been directly related to what I was doing (confirmation that my application was being processed, then status e-mails from the plan I chose, etc).
I never bought anything, maybe they thought I was a "hot" prospect. I got quotes to set my retirement budget only. They have stopped for now except for one that sends me emails from time to time, but the phones calls were crazy. 3-4 a day for weeks.
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Old 12-17-2019, 11:40 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by bobbyr View Post
Someone told me that using this site (for him), created a lot of spam on his phone and email account -- hope that is not the case, but I can believe it.

This is why I have a Google Voice number, and any calls not from numbers in my contact list go right to voicemail. It might also be worth setting up a new email account, and either forward the emails to your main account (for now), or check it once every day or week or whatever, then you can drop it when you're done. Gmail makes this very easy, you can actually open different email accounts in different browser tabs, unlike many webmail services.
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Old 12-17-2019, 12:04 PM   #16
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I have been on the ACA for 3.5 years now. I get hundreds of calls every year after signing up for the plan I picked. Funny, they didn't call me back when I was looking for a plan, but after I picked one, they just kept calling and calling. I just don't answer the phone unless I know the number it is coming from. They stop calling around every April after you have already picked a plan from the ACA in December. Go figure.
that is disconcerting...I manage my mother's home healthcare, PT/OT, insurance, etc and get a lot of calls i have to answer in case it is related...ugh
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Old 12-17-2019, 12:41 PM   #17
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Some things to check on your employer's plan (based on nuances of my employer's retiree plan):
1. I can only use FSA money on the employers plan. It wasn't portable.

2. Once I leave the employers retiree plan, I can never go back on it... its a one way door.
3. The employers retiree plan skyrocketed from the employee plan costs because they lumped retirees into a separate higher age/higher use plan.



Given the above, I moved to ACA at the 12 month point of the 18 month COBRA when premiums went up 9x.


I'm not saying your plan does any of these... just something to verify with the specifics of your plan before moving your chess pieces.
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Old 12-17-2019, 02:12 PM   #18
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I've never received a call or email from anyone trying to sell me or discuss my healthcare insurance other than the insurance company I signed up for. I signed up for my 2019 ACA plan using healthcare.gov in December 2018 and just renewed for 2020 via healthcare.gov. There are many other websites out there that can do the quoting for you as well. Perhaps some of those are the ones that actually are slamming the phone calls.
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:44 PM   #19
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Some things to check on your employer's plan (based on nuances of my employer's retiree plan):
1. I can only use FSA money on the employers plan. It wasn't portable.
2. Once I leave the employers retiree plan, I can never go back on it... its a one way door.
3. The employers retiree plan skyrocketed from the employee plan costs because they lumped retirees into a separate higher age/higher use plan.

Given the above, I moved to ACA at the 12 month point of the 18 month COBRA when premiums went up 9x.

I'm not saying your plan does any of these... just something to verify with the specifics of your plan before moving your chess pieces.
Thanks for the feedback
1. I am 99% sure can be used for any health spending needs period
2. Need to check, not too concerned as the premiums are out of my budget
3. that makes sense

My cobra went up from 920 to 965 for 2020. (spouse and myself)
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