Easing the Transition From Group Health Care Coverage to Individual Health Care Coverage

Transitioning from Group Medical Insurance to Individual Health Coverage can be a confusing and tedious process. Bearing in mind a few facts may help ease your post-retirement transition for health coverage as well as life insurance.

1. Jim DeRose of Smith & DeRose Insurance suggests researching new health coverage 2-3 years prior to retirement. “Especially since the possibility of job loss is a real concern today,” says DeRose. Planning ahead to find out what type of insurance will satisfy your (and your family’s) needs post-retirement could save you a costly mistake such as becoming un-insurable.

2. Recognize the difference between a Captive Agent and an Independent Insurance Agency (or Broker). Captive Agent refers to one that represents one carrier. They are ‘captive’ to the products under their company. Conversely, a good Independent Agent (or Broker) acts as a consultant, gets to the root of your specific set of circumstances, and offers solutions for health insurance, life insurance ultimately guiding you through an otherwise confusing and tedious process.

3. Consider COBRA as a health coverage option upon retiring. By law, most employers must offer COBRA. This could be the easiest, least expensive route for the initial eighteen months. An ethical insurance broker will be able to guide you through your options, explain the laws, and help you make an informed decision for your and your family’s health care coverage.

4. Navigating through the maze of insurance information can be daunting. There are many options available for health, dental, vision, and life insurance. Cheaper does not necessarily mean better, nor does it mean you’ll get the coverage you need. A well-versed Independent Agent (or Broker) can turn chaos into calm by asking pertinent questions about your specific situation, and alleviating a potentially overwhelming insurance acquisition process.

5. Pre-existing conditions and the web of laws surrounding this issue is becoming far more convoluted by the month. Consulting an Independent Insurance Agent (or Broker) will be your best course of action to ensure you’re planning wisely for you and your family in long run.

6. Supplemental insurance will likely be a necessity for any Boomer. Pay close attention to the Medicare coverage.

7. Plan for and secure life insurance and final expenses. “You may not be sorry, but your loved ones will. It’s got a boring, terrible stigma, but the reality is that most people leave these issues to their heirs,” says DeRose. If you’re incapacitated by an accident, insurance can help your family through the financial hardship so they can deal with the trauma much easier. DeRose adds, “The average funeral is now $8-10k.” Pre-paying a funeral locks in costs today and avoids unwelcomed financial shocks later.”