Retirement Health Care

  One of the central concerns for anyone as they leave the workforce is what will happen when medical needs have to be met. Understanding the changes set to occur as you switch into retirement health care plans will help you make as smooth a transition as possible, but how can you know what’s most important? There’s a good chance you’ve been doing some retirement planning for years, setting aside money in various accounts to provide income, yet it’s very easy to allow questions about your health to slip through the cracks as you set up your budget and plan your lifestyle. However, by taking a few simple steps, you will be able to anticipate the shift from employee to retiree without too many issues. Here are three tips to help you clear everything up and avoid interruptions in services:


Ask Your Doctor

Have you been going to the same physician for several years? If so, you have probably developed a strong relationship and would like to keep it going for as long as possible. Sadly, some doctors are moving away from providing care to Medicare patients for a variety of reasons – everything from decreased reimbursements to increasingly complex needs that require more specialized knowledge. Talk with the administrative staff and see what changes, if any, should be anticipated as your workplace health plan ends. In the event you have to switch to someone else, see if they have a list of recommended physicians and, after deciding on a new one, begin the process of having your records transferred to the appropriate office.


Select a Supplemental Plan

Medicare is, obviously, going to be your primary means of paying for the services you require as you age. That said, it is not a comprehensive plan – you will still have co-payments and uncovered procedures. Dental visits or trips to the eye doctor, as well as many prescription drugs, are not covered in the basic coverage guidelines. In fact, you are likely to find the differences between your employer-backed program and Medicare are vast. In the year before your last day at work, research the options you have, keeping in mind medications you take for chronic conditions and other services – eyeglasses and checkups – you regularly need. Look at the options from private and government organizations, then choose the option that best fits into your budget while ensuring your necessities are covered.


Consider a Health Savings Account

Nobody likes being blindsided by unexpected costs, whether due to an emergency procedure or a surprise co-payment during a trip to the pharmacy. Setting up a Health Savings Account (HSA) can help you make sure there are ways to cover the balance regardless of what may come up. Just like any other aspect of your monthly budget, you can deposit funds “for a rainy day” during the year and watch the unused portion grow from year to year. Be careful not to confuse this type of plan with a Flexible Savings Account (FSA), a similar program designed to help individuals with medical expenses that do not roll over annually.