The ever-present question
It is such a fatiguing topic and one that is filled with emotion and fear. As a nation we can hardly get past it and present solutions are sometimes as hard to handle as the problem itself.
I’m talking about the price of the administration of health care.
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High cost and obstacles
We know a couple who pays $1,200 a month for a catastrophic, high deductible plan in the States and they have never had a claim. Another couple pays $2,000 a month just for the husband’s ability to be insured with his pre-existing heart condition. Some people are not able to be covered at all with US insurance companies due to a completely cleared up medical condition that happened 5, 8, or 10 years ago. They feel they are just twisting in the wind, and waiting for the next shoe to drop.
Sometimes our readers write to us about staying in their jobs for another 5 years or more to qualify for employer covered health insurance that will last “forever.” Is it worth it? they ask. They feel like they are spending their healthy years chained to a job that has lost its luster for something in the future that might not exist when they need or want it.
As you know, Billy and I have traded security for adventure many times in our lives. And when it comes to health insurance and the price for the administration of health care, it’s no different. Medical Tourism is a viable option and one that we espouse in our articles and books. We have been called on the carpet for our decisions in this area more than once.
However, among world travelers there is a phrase we use when we discuss health insurance policies and whether or not we want to continue holding one and paying the corresponding price tag. It’s called “going naked” or “going semi-naked.”
This phrase pretty much describes how it feels when one chooses to let that insurance policy go. One can feel pretty exposed and vulnerable – at least in the beginning. On the other hand, not being tied to a $12,000 -$24,000 or more payment per year opens up other possibilities. In a few years without a policy payment one can save enough money to afford something unexpected out of pocket.
For the most part we’re talking about travelers here, so these are people not living a full time traditional life in the States. They have made certain decisions and trade offs to have the life they enjoy, and they have already received health care in other countries. There is always the first time for an experience such as this — going to a doctor in a foreign country — and the first time can be unnerving. But then after receiving the care, realizing the doctor speaks English, seeing the hospital or clinic with their computers and quality equipment and having the heart felt care, things get placed into a better perspective.
Those who have never received medical service out of their own home country tend to look at this topic with jaded eyes or great suspicion.
Those who have gone through this experience feel their eyes have been opened to new possibilities. The idea of “going naked” of an insurance policy becomes a manageable possibility. Going “half-naked” (choosing a high deductible policy or travel insurance when visiting the States) is a comfortable middle ground.
Once again, Billy and I are not advising anyone to do anything. We present options to challenging situations, and you can ruminate about it or toss it into the round file.
But one thing we see over and over again is how this one subject seems to be over-weighted as compared to other themes that could generate happiness and comfort in one’s retirement life. Categories such as cost of living, reasonable weather, having a community of friends and energizing, rewarding activities to do, for instance.
There is no one size fits all, to be sure.
But if the overbearing cost of administration of health care is a concern in your retirement plans, you might consider some working alternatives.