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Retirement is supposed to be a reward for people who have worked hard throughout their lives and have achieved a status and an age that call for an end to the daily grind. However, when you consider the expense of being a senior citizen, with the added medications and the additional cost of a senior health insurance plan versus the fixed income provided for retirees, it doesn’t seem like much of a reward. Without a good savings plan or 401K during working years, it is nearly impossible to afford medical care with the help of nothing but Medicare. Why is a senior health care plan meant to supplement Medicare so expensive to secure?
To understand this, one must first understand the concept of insurance. Purchasing an insurance policy is paying against a calculated risk. As human beings, we all get hurt or sick at some point, and this risk is taken into account by the insurance company providing your coverage when calculating your premium. Certain health risk factors can affect these rates, like smoking. The greater the risk involved, the more money an insurance company will require be placed into your “risk” account to cover your costs, meaning that your premiums will be higher.
As we grow older, our bodies begin to break down and become more susceptible to both illness and injury. Often, chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension require long term medication and care, increasing the overall cost of health care. Therefore, insurance companies see age as a huge risk factor to their profitability. For this reason, a senior health insurance plan is much more expensive to secure than one for an individual under the age of 65. On top of that, as the senior gets older, the cost of the senior health insurance plan rises.
There are several ways to help combat this cost. First, when you are setting up your 401K savings plan, consider not only the cost of living after retirement but also the cost of health care. In determining your monthly investment into the account, make sure you include projected costs for the premiums on a senior health insurance plan. Sign up for the supplemental plan prior to retirement, as the younger you are at the beginning of the policy, the less expensive the plan will be. Read the fine print to verify that the senior health insurance plan covers everything you want and is compatible with Medicare. This plan should be supplemental to the government provisions rather than replacing them. Most of all, shop around. Don’t sign the dotted line on the first policy you review. Look for the best possible rates for adequate coverage to meet your needs.
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