Early Retirement – FIRE-proof health insurance?
Why are your friends and family asking, “Are you crazy?”
We declared Financial Independence and Early Retirement (FIRE) and set the date. Our FIRE date is December 31, 2018. Yes. End of this year. It’s a Monday. So, seventy-nine days from now, on a Tuesday, we’ll be off the clock. We’ll own our own time. And in need of FIRE-proof individual health insurance.
Join the Free Call Saturday, 10/27/2018 at 12:00 pm Central Time
Join the video conference Saturday, October 27, 2018, at 12:00 pm Central Time from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/821908340
No need to pre-register, but space is limited. First come, first serve.
Don’t Wanna Wait
Why did we pull the trigger? One goal of financial independence is the freedom to avoid work you don’t want to do.
Don’t work because you have to. Work because you want to.
Early retirement should be a function of we can. But often it is a result of no choice or must.
For us, it was because we can. Financial independence comes first in FIRE. But it’s also we have things we want to do together. So why wait?
Time to celebrate. We’re thrilled about the freedom that lies ahead. We’ve got both business and personal projects and travel planned. Our Third Act includes an encore business together. A big, long-delayed DIY project – kitchen cabinets. And travel. There’s a hitch on the SUV for a reason. There’s a dreamed-of RV for in-country. Other places require wings. Hawaii, Sydney, Edinburgh, and more are on the list.
We’re excited to share our plans with friends and family. But we’ve noticed a pattern when we share. We were ready for, “What are you going to do next?” We know that retirement isn’t a destination it’s a journey. But that question wasn’t the first reaction.
Instead, everyone asked, “Are you crazy? What are you going to do for health insurance?”
Okay, the “Are you crazy?” was mostly implied but heavily emphasized. The real issue is health insurance, not our mental state.
Seventy-nine days from now, January 1, 2019, we’ll also be off employer-sponsored health insurance. We’re going to need FIRE-proof individual health insurance or protection against the unexpected health challenge.
Those That Went Before
My older brother is a great example. First thing out of his mouth. Not, “Now you have time to come to visit us out West.” No. It was, “What about health insurance?” His experience is painful and expensive. He’s approaching sixty-five. But to get there? Various members of the family had heart surgery, foot surgery, and a hip replacement. And not all of it was a result of my brother’s motorcycle and bicycle racing affliction – anything with two wheels. Health insurance was and is still a major worry.
And we’re old enough to notice the bell curve of major illnesses and sadly death randomly striking previously hale and healthy friends our own age. Health insurance matters because we don’t know when health challenges will arise. They won’t necessarily politely wait until after age-65.
Those that went into early-retirement before us are saying don’t ignore health insurance and health care. They are a major expense and headache.
Reformed and Deformed
This is not a surprise. We’re joining the troubled and confusing “reformed” individual health insurance market post-Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare).
There are good things about the ACA including the ability to obtain health insurance even with pre-existing medical conditions. But the bad is that access can be very expensive. The first “A” in ACA really means “irony.” Health insurance premiums have gotten much more expensive post-reform.
The confusing part? Your price and my price may be very different because while health status no longer matters, income does, at least within the Marketplace Exchange. That expensive premium? If you make less than four times the Federal poverty level plus the cost of insurance? Taxpayers will pay that expensive premium. (About $65,000 upper limit in most states.) Go over the limit and you are suddenly paying the entire pricey premium. This is the premium cliff. It’s dangerous to drive too close to the edge.
Where you live also matters. Insurance plan choices and prices differ state-to-state and even within states. Some urban areas have multiple choices. Many rural areas are lucky to have a single choice.
We examined options earlier in 2018 before leaping into the unknown. But options, premiums, and rules change every year. So we don’t know exactly what we’re going to do. We do know there are choices with which we can live. (See: Countdown to Freedom and Early Retirement)
And time is short for choosing. ACA open enrollment runs from November 1 – December 15, 2018, for individual health insurance in 2019.
Where Angels Fear to Tread
The choices vary so much by your location and individual circumstances that there’s no one right answer. You must understand the limits and the tradeoffs. The devil is in the details. We still feel the dread of fools rushing in where angels fear to tread.
Share the Journey
Figured you might share our problem, fears, and anxieties. So we thought we’d share our journey. It might help if you too are planning early retirement or are late-career self-employed before age-65 and the magical Medicare-eligibility.
Group Video conference Call – ACA Individual Health Insurance Questions & Answers
Aging With Freedom™ is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom video conference meeting to discuss the options for health insurance between now and Medicare-eligibility at Age-65. If you’re planning for or in early-retirement or late-career self-employed, this is for you. We’ll share a summary and some examples. You’ll have a chance to ask questions. And share your insights.
Not Selling Insurance – We’re Buyers Too
AND. . . we are not selling anything at this webinar. Just sharing our research as we are buying too.
For more about us, see www.AgingWithFreedom.com or visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Join the Free Call Saturday, 10/27/2018 at 12:00 pm Central Time
Join the video conference Saturday, October 27, 2018, at 12:00 pm Central Time from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/821908340 No need to pre-register, but space is limited. First come, first serve.
Your Individual Health Insurance Choices
Here are your health insurance options from now until Medicare-eligibility at Age-65 for early-retirees or the self-employed. Aging With Freedom™ is a blog, community, and advice for a successful Third-Act (retirement) pursuing the trifecta goals of High Wealth, High Health, High Purpose™. Again, we are not selling insurance. We’re shopping too. But we’re sharing our research on the new options for 2019 and the pros and cons of the various choices. Maybe we’ll learn even more from you. For 2019 the choices are:
- From the Exchange. Individual Insurance with potential cost-sharing and premium subsidies through the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) Marketplace Exchange. Income matters.
- Outside the Exchange. Individual insurance, unsubsidized, outside of the Marketplace Exchange.
- Temporarily Bridge the Gap to Medicaid. Newly extended Temporary Health Insurance policies can now bridge three-years (say between Age-62 early Social Security retirement and Age-65 Medicare-eligibility).
- Association Plans. Newly available association plans, especially for the self-employed through sponsors like Farm Bureau and National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).
- Extend your current group insurance through a former employer, but at full price with no employer subsidy. COBRA is an acronym for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act from which the requirement comes for employers to offer former employees the ability to continue coverage.
- Exempt Alternatives. Religiously-affiliated Health-Share accounts, that are not technically insurance, are exempt from ACA minimum policy standards, and therefore more affordable.
- Medicaid. If your income makes you Medicaid eligible (public health insurance for low-income families), Medicaid is the answer. This discussion is primarily for those whose wealth or income are above Medicaid limits. For more on Medicaid eligibility see, https://www.kff.org/health-reform/fact-sheet/aca-open-enrollment-if-you-are-low-income/
We’ll talk more about these and the pros and cons on the call and in a follow-up article. And we’ll let you know what we choose.
Technical Call-in Details
This is a video conference. Easy to join from any web-connected computer, tablet, or smartphone with a web camera and a microphone. Also, there are options to join by telephone below. You don’t have to be on video just because we are.
Add this link to your calendar and join at the appointed time,
To join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android just click on this link: https://zoom.us/j/821908340
Other ways to join. Or iPhone one-tap :
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Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
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Meeting ID: 821 908 340
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/ad7FkQ7lPV
In the meantime, good luck with planning for or living in early-retirement and the search for affordable health insurance before Medicare. This includes those of us self-employed in our encore venture. We can’t afford to spend our entire income on health care. You can’t either. There are other priorities in life too like food, shelter, and fun. We want Aging With Freedom™ and to the freedom to choose some fun and happiness.