Medical Insurance for Retirees

Medical Insurance for Retirees

Lack of adequate insurance coverage is one of the major healthcare issues in the United States. According to The Commonwealth Fund (2020), 8.5% of the American population, translating to approximately 28 million people, are uninsured. Although the government has made remarkable efforts to make health care accessible and affordable to as many people as problem, lack of universal coverage still poses a serious challenge to the government and economy as a whole. For retirees, the challenge may be greater considering that their employment has ended and they can no longer enjoy the cover sponsored by their employers. This paper explores the issue of healthcare insurance for retirees in the U.S.

An Overview of Health Insurance in the US

A number of insurance programs and incentives exist in the U.S., the notable ones being Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Affordable Act. Just to mention, Medicare provides healthcare coverage to persons above 65 years as well as those below 65 years and living with end-stage renal disease or long-term disabilities. Medicaid, on the other hand, caters for low-income families, people with disabilities, and the blind. The Children’s Health Insurance Program covers children whose parents earn substantial income such that they are not eligible for Medicaid, but their income cannot allow them to enroll for private insurance. The Affordable Care Act, seeks to improve coverage by requiring as many Americans as possible to obtain insurance. It also opens health insurance marketplaces that provide premium subsidies to individuals from lower and middle income households (The Commonwealth Fund, 2020).

The Affordable Care Act has attempted to address many of the gaps existing in healthcare, but it has not offered a complete solution to the problem of universal insurance coverage. Statistics indicate that over the last few years, the uninsured population, especially the young, has been on an upward trend. For example, between 2016 and 2019, the uninsured young Americans increased in number from 26.7 million to 28.9 million. At the same time, the rate of the uninsured rose by 0.9% in the same period (Tolbert, Orgera & Damico, 2020). Without doubt, being uninsured has serious implications for individuals, families, the healthcare system, and the nation at large.

One of the major effects of lack of insurance coverage is poor health. It goes without saying that individuals who do not have insurance coverage have poor healthcare access as compared to the insured. According to Tolbert et al., (2020), 30% of uninsured adults forewent medical care in 2019 because of the high costs of healthcare. This matches research findings that indicate that uninsured persons have a lower likelihood of getting preventive services as well as cares when faced by serious health conditions as well as chronic diseases (Tolbert et al., 2020; Lickman, Himmelstein & Woolhandler, 2017).

Medical Insurance for Retirees

Based on the overview of the various insurance programs available in the U.S., it is evident that retirees in the US are covered under the Medicare scheme. Nonetheless, the truth is that access to healthcare still remains an issue of concern to retirees. This deduction is based on reports indicating that almost half of Americans nearing retirement worry that “they won’t be able to afford healthcare when they retire” (Carroll, 2020 para.1). According to the report, such concerns arise because health insurance in the US is quite costly. As such, many people nearing retirement feel less confident about their ability to afford healthcare when they retire. This is a matter of concern especially when it is considered that elderly persons are markedly vulnerable to chronic, life-threatening illnesses. For this reason, they should be able to access medical care as regularly as possible.

Secondly, healthcare has been established to be among the top ranking expenses incurred by individuals after retirement. Besides taking care of transportation as well as housing needs, retirees have to deal with the fact that they can no longer enjoy or access the health benefits sponsored by their employers or unions (Bernicke, 2021). As such, they are forced to allocate a certain portion of their retirement budgets towards healthcare costs. What this means is that healthcare costs during retirement are a significant challenge, exacerbated by the increased life expectancy and inflation in healthcare (Bernicke, 2021).

Although Medicare provides some relief from this challenge, it does not cover all healthcare costs during retirement. Estimates indicate that expenses related to healthcare consume 15% of the retiree’s yearly budget (Fidelity Brokerage Services, 2021). With the average retired couple estimated to spend around $300,000 on healthcare, healthcare may be a big challenge for retirees given that Medicare does not cater for all medical needs. This means that retirees have to dig into their pockets to offset medical bills not covered by Medicare.

Another factor that makes medical insurance an important issue for retirees in the US is that much as Medicare provides coverage, individuals must wait until they attain 65 years to enjoy the benefits. This is an issue because for some people, retirement may come as early as 62 years of age. For such, it becomes necessary to look for other options that will cater for healthcare costs until the person becomes eligible for the Medicare program (Silvestrini, 2021). For individuals who used to their employers paying their premiums for them, they may get shocked by health insurance prices.

With the above challenges, it is necessary to explore the various options available to retirees. Individuals who have retired and wish to expand the scope of healthcare coverage beyond Medicare could sign up for a program known as COBRA. COBRA is the acronym for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, an option that can be accessed for a maximum of 18 months following retirement (Silvestrini, 2021). It is a rule that imposes a requirement on employers to provide coverage for employees following completion of service for a specified duration (Silvestrini, 2021). In simple terms, COBRA allows individuals to enjoy the same benefits as they would normally have paid in form of premiums, plus the payment made by their employer. However, eligibility for this scheme requires the individual to have been signed up in his/her employer’s medical plan during the period of employment. In addition to this, COBRA is a temporary plan, meaning that individuals must bear the costs of paying for premiums once 18 months are over.

Another option is to sign up for private insurance. A major advantage of private health plans is that they are cost effective in the sense that they are not bound by Affordable Care Act rules. As such, individuals may find a reasonable cover or plan that matches their situation. In other words, private health plans may be obtained at a substantial discount and with more stable premiums (Purnell, 2021). Nonetheless, private health plans have a limitation in that it does not cover pre-existing conditions.

Recommendations

In light of the above limitations and considerations, it is crucial that people plan and prepare adequately regarding their healthcare after retirement. Here are some of the measures that may be taken to achieve this:

  1. Build and beef up one’s health savings account (HSA). The advantage of having such an account is that any earnings as well as withdrawals from this account are not taxed, provided they are used to offset healthcare expenses (Epperson & Dickler, 2019). Individuals who have HSAs can reap the benefits after retirement, where they can use the earnings on their accounts to offset costs not covered by Medicare.
  2. Besides HSAs, people who have reached or are approaching retirement are advised to manage their retirement income. Precisely, the recommendation is to manage income in a manner that keeps an individual within the lowest possible tax bracket (Epperson & Dickler, 2019). Thirdly, it helps to take a long-term care plan to help retirees cater for things such as nursing home expenses as well as the need for assisted living (Epperson & Dickler, 2019).

In conclusion, the ability to access quality healthcare as and when the need arises remains an issue of concern to a significant number of Americans. This exists even with the remarkable efforts that the government has put in place to make healthcare accessible and affordable to all citizens. With the Medicare scheme created by the government, retirees can continue enjoying medical cover for certain health needs. Nevertheless, the literature reviewed in this paper reveals that there are several limitations in the available healthcare plans for retirees. For example, individuals who retire have to wait or look for alternatives until they attain the age of 65 years when they become eligible for Medicare. Because of this and other factors, it is important for individuals to secure their post-retirement years through health savings accounts and private health plans.

References

Bernicke, T. (2021). Early retirement health insurance: what you should know. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2021/07/29/early-retirement-health-insurance-what-you-should-know/?sh=6022321b7abc

Carroll, L. (2020). Many in U.S. worry about affording healthcare in retirement. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-insurance-retirement-idUSKBN2042FA

Dickman, S. L., Himmelstein, D. U., & Woolhandler, S. (2017). Inequality and the health-care system in the USA. The Lancet389(10077), 1431-1441.

Epperson, S. & Dickler, J. (2019). Here’s how to keep healthcare costs down in retirement. CNBC.

Epperson, S. & Dickler, J. (2019). Here’s how to keep healthcare costs down in retirement. CNBC.

Fidelity Brokerage Services. (2021). How to plan for rising healthcare costs. https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/personal-finance/plan-for-rising-health-care-costs

Purnell, C. (2021). What are your health insurance options if you retire before Medicare? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/financialfinesse/2021/05/03/what-are-your-health-insurance-options-if-you-retire-before-medicare/?sh=5afeef9a5bc9

Silvestrini, E. (2021). Healthcare costs in retirement. https://www.annuity.org/retirement/health-care-costs/

The Commonwealth Fund. (2020). International healthcare system profiles: United States. https://www.commonwealthfund.org/international-health-policy-center/countries/united-states

Tolbert, J. & Orgera, K. (2020). Key facts about the uninsured population. https://www.kff.org/uninsured/issue-brief/key-facts-about-the-uninsured-population/

Essay Tutors
Calculate your paper price
Pages (550 words)
Approximate price: -

Why You Should Choose Us

Affordable Prices

Since we know that we are dealing with students, either part time or full time, many might be having financial constraints, but still want to pursue academic life. This has made us ensure we have very affordable prices, and wonderful discounts, yet give high quality products.

Professional Writers

Our reputation has been built because of the dedicated and highly qualified writers in our team. The writers give clients high quality products which guarantees return clients and referrals.

Quality

Our team is dedicated to giving clients the best quality products. However, if a paper does not meet the requirements stated by the client, our team will provide free revisions to the satisfaction of the client.

Moneyback guarantee policy

We believe that clients should get value for their money. If the client finds that the product has not met the requirements stated, we will refund the amount paid.

Original papers

We understand how plagiarism can ruin clients’ careers and reputation. We thus strive to provide original papers to our clients. We use several tools to check plagiarism. This ensures that clients get products that meet their institutions’ standards.

24/7 Customer Support

You can reach our support team via, live chat, email or phone. All your issues will be dealt with asap as the team works round the clock.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

Total price:
$0.00

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

You have other errands to run? No need to worry. Place your order with us, carry out your errands while we do your paper and deliver on time.

Blog Writing

Give us a topic you want your blog based on, and let our team handle the rest. You will get the best article to be published in any forum you want. We have able team to do all the work for you.

Assignments

Many students are given assignments by their tutors. However, students find it challenging to just even come up with a topic. This should no longer be a problem to you. Just visit our site, contact the support team that will help you place your order, and find the best writer to handle the assignment.

Dissertation Services

Dissertation has proven to be challenging to most students. For this reason, we have specialized writers who handles only these kind of papers. You will be in constant touch with the writer and the support team once you place a dissertation order to make sure nothing goes wrong.

Editing and Proofreading

Some students have good points and writing prowess. However, they make minor mistakes that deny them good grades. To avoid such cases, you can give us your already written paper so that our team can edit it to the correct formatting style, language, proper flow and the correct academic language. This gives you an upper hand to get the best grade than a person whose job has not been edited.