As you move closer to your planned retirement age, you may find yourself with much on your mind, one of those hot topics being medical health insurance. Having comprehensive medical insurance is a critical part of your retirement planning, and will be just as important if not more important, than it ever has been before. Are you currently covered under your employer's group health plan? Will this coverage continue in the form of retiree coverage once you retire from the company? Will you need Medicare if you have retiree insurance? All great questions as there is so much to consider.
If your employer or union offers a retiree health plan, how the coverage works will depend on the terms of your specific plan. Before you commit to retirement insurance offered to you, there are a few things to consider.
1.Keep in mind that if you have retiree insurance through a union or through an employer, they are in control of this coverage.
Employers are not required to provide retiree coverage, and they are able to change premiums, benefits and even cancel the coverage.
2. Are you Medicare eligible?
You will want to find out what happens with your retiree coverage when you reach Medicare eligibility. Should you carry both? What happens if you delay Medicare enrollment?
(As an example, your retiree coverage may not pay for your medical costs during the time period in which you were eligible for Medicare coverage and did not sign up for it. When you become eligible for Medicare you may need to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B to get the full benefits of your retiree coverage. There is also the possibility that if you delay your enrollment you may be subject to a penalty for late enrollment, on top of your premium amount.)
3. CostYou will want to find out what the cost of your retiree insurance will be. If you are married, does this price include your spouse? Your employer or union may offer retiree coverage that limits how much you will pay. It may only provide stop loss coverage, which starts paying our out of pocket costs only when they reach a maximum amount.
4. Will your plan co-manage with Medicare?
If so, what will that look like? You may need to request a copy of your plan’s benefit book to see how the plan and Medicare work together. Will your retiree insurance stay in effect if you elect Medicare?
5. Is there a plan in place in the case that your employer goes insolvent or goes out of business?
Is there a COBRA continuation plan?
As you can see, there are many factors that go into making this big decision. Having the wrong information can be costly, and you do not want to be left with any gaps in coverage.
To make sure you're properly prepared to enroll for Medicare, download our handy dandy Medicare checklist!