If you retire early or are self-employed and looking for health insurance, you might find it difficult to save money. A lot of people who retire before 65, when they become eligible for Medicare coverage, may find themselves spending an arm and a leg for insurance. If you feel like you’re paying way too much for your pre-Medicare health insurance, you’re not alone. Many people have felt the squeeze of rising inflation rates with insurance lately. Here are some ways you can save and reduce the cost of your health insurance.
Reduce the Cost of Pre-Medicare Health Insurance
Many people who are retirement-age or who work for themselves find it difficult to get affordable health insurance. These people who need pre-Medicare health insurance find that it is incredibly difficult to get coverage with a decent deductible that doesn’t cost an exorbitant amount. While the ACA has helped some people in this boat, there are others who don’t qualify for the subsidies on ACA plans.
Instead, these people have been experiencing ballooning costs for premiums and watching as deductibles are slashed as health insurance companies try to squeeze more and more money out of them. The future hardly looks bright for the ACA marketplace: the current administration has vowed to stop protections for those with preexisting conditions. Next year, the penalties for having no insurance will fall away. This means that many healthy people may ignore the marketplace altogether, making premiums that much higher for those who use ACA plans.
Who This Affects
This situation disproportionately affects people in their 50’s and 60’s who have yet to reach Medicare eligibility. These pre-Medicare health insurance plans are increasingly failing people in their 50’s and 60’s as they develop more serious medical conditions and have to pay more and more every year to keep getting the medicine and treatment they need to survive.
For many of these people, even those who don’t currently have any serious health issues, the ballooning premiums and absurd cost of healthcare make them nervous. They can’t opt for coverage with bare-bones provisions as they may develop serious medical conditions sooner rather than later. However, they also can’t afford the existing plans. So what do they do?
Check the Marketplace
While you might think there’s no good coverage on the Marketplace, you’d be wrong. For some people, there are great pre-Medicare health insurance plans available through the marketplace. According to some industry analysts, people over 50 who use the Marketplace to find health coverage are actually saving more money now than in the past three years. Since 2015, premiums for people over 50 have dropped nearly 40%, down to an average of about $60 per month!
As for those dramatic increases in premiums, you need not worry about them if you get subsidies through the ACA. For people who receive subsidies, these increases won’t actually hit you. For a single-person household, if the income is below around $48,000, you’ll receive these subsidies. For two-person households, this threshold is roughly $66,000.
Even if you’re only just above this threshold, speak to a tax advisor. There are some ways you can qualify for the subsidies even if you make a bit more than these thresholds if you do something like making an IRA account contribution or some similar method.
Consider Direct Payment
This isn’t suggesting you simply pay for your treatments outright. Instead, some people are sidestepping insurance altogether and opting instead to engage in “direct primary care.” This method sees the patient paying their doctor a flat fee, usually around $70 per month, that tends to cover some portion of typical doctor’s visits, check-ups, and preventative care.
Doctors who engage in direct primary care often take steps to make sure their patients pay less overall for most basic medical services. This may include buying medications from pharmaceutical companies at wholesale prices and then selling them at cost. Another common cost-saving method is through direct contracts with labs, allowing for less expensive lab results and radiology, passing those savings to customers.
Those who choose to use direct primary care are often advised to get insurance with high deductibles so that they have an option in case they become seriously ill or otherwise take on some large hospital bill. Generally, this method is advised for people who have found relatively affordable high-deductible pre-Medicare health insurance. While this might not work for everyone, for many patients it results in them saving more money in the long run compared to getting a high-premium, low-deductible plan.