The Golden Age: Healthcare Policy & Preventative Health for Retirees

Sam Bowman

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You’ve been dreaming of and planning for your retirement for years. It’s what you’ve been working toward your entire adult life.

Now it’s here. And you want to enjoy it to the fullest for many years to come. The last thing you want or need is for bad healthcare policy or worse, your own ill health, to derail your plans and rob you of everything you’ve been striving for.

But there are things you can do to ensure that you remain the healthiest and most vital retiree on the block. What it takes is planning.

Get Covered

When you retire, chances are you’re going to be giving up the group coverage you had with your employer, unless your employer offers retiree coverage. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, especially if you take advantage of all you are entitled to under Medicare.

If you’re turning 65, or you have a disability and have been covered under SSDI for at least 24 consecutive months, then chances are you’re eligible for Medicare coverage. The important thing is to meet your enrollment deadlines and ensure you’re clear on what the various Medicare plans actually cover.

Remember, too, that your spouse isn’t going to be covered under your Medicare plan, unlike with most traditional group insurance plans.

Likewise, standard Medicare, Part A, only covers hospitalizations and related services. Coverage for other services, such as routine medical care and prescription coverage, will require you to enroll in Parts B, C, and/or D, depending on your particular needs. Those plans cost far less than private insurance, in general, but they’re typically not free.

Know the Rules

If you’re planning to spend your retirement traveling the world, then you need to channel your inner nerd and do some heavy studying up on the healthcare policies in the areas you intend to visit — or even just to pass through.

These policies are going to shape who gets treated, how, and by whom. It’s also to determine how the care is to be paid for and when. If you’re living or traveling overseas, for instance, you generally can’t use Medicare Part B to cover your medical expenses. On the flip side, though, the cost of care is generally much lower abroad than in the US, so absorbing the costs yourself might not be much of an issue.

An Ounce of Prevention

If you’re planning for a long and healthy retirement, it’s not enough to know the healthcare system wherever you may find yourself or to ensure you have enough insurance coverage to meet your needs.  You also need to prioritize prevention.

After all, the best doctors in the world aren’t going to be able to give you the happy golden years you deserve without your cooperation. Staying strong and well means cultivating mind, body, and spirit.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death for both men and women in the United States. But by focusing on diet, exercise, stress management, and lifestyle, you can keep those veins strong and your heart, lungs, and circulatory system in tiptop shape for decades to come.

But if you’re one of the 133 million Americans who has a chronic illness, that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to build a healthy and happy retirement. It’s possible to retire well even with a chronic health condition. And that doesn’t require you to compromise on your medical care or give up your financial security.

It simply means you might have to work a little harder to access the support you deserve and the resources you need. You may choose to call in a financial expert to help you access medical funding support. Likewise, you might find yourself exploring various alternative health agencies to address your particular health needs.

The Takeaway

Retirement really should be the golden age. After all, you have worked hard your entire life to get here. But it won’t mean much if you don’t have the health and vitality to enjoy it. The good news is that with a bit of planning and some commitment, you can protect and even improve your health throughout your retirement years. It begins with understanding your particular health needs and the resources that are available to you. It also means practicing prevention, including taking care to safeguard your cardiovascular health and protect against the leading causes of death in the US. Above all, it means recognizing that having a chronic health condition doesn’t mean you have to give up your fantasy retirement. It just means you may have to take a bit of extra care of your physical, mental, and financial health. Yes, it may take some effort, but it will all be worth it when you’re living your best retirement life!

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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