People ask me about my health insurance a lot.
For the first few years of my retirement, I paid for Obamacare. It wasn’t ideal because of the high deductible and I used it only for physicals, which were free and showed me in good health. Whenever I traveled, which was always, I paid out of pocket for any actual medical expenses and when I ran out of the six month supply of antidepressants I requested before leaving Australia, I went without. Life was good and I didn’t need it.
Then I called and spoke to an Obamacare representative and realized that the insurance system cares only about income and not net worth.
I disclosed all my assets and my income in my application and the state told me I could enroll in Health First Colorado, Colorado’s Medicaid program.
So now I pay $0 per month on insurance. I’ve seen doctors and I’ve paid, so far, not a dime. My medication is free too.
How is that possible?
I don’t make any money, selling only a few books each month. I had some “income” when I took out some money from my VTSAX last year, but I took out a small enough amount that I’m still below the minimums for my state for eligibility.
So, that’s a positive thought for retirement.
If you can live a simple life and don’t plan on making any money after retirement, or if you do plan on making money, but don’t succeed, health insurance is pretty simple and easy.
But net worth is a different story. I have enough money to choose where to live and I chose a state where the government wants to insure people.
The health insurance system in the United States can really screw you over if you’re not careful. It’s a patchwork of solutions.
My own health insurance journey
From birth to age 20, my parents paid for my health insurance through their own health insurance at work. I’m assuming.
From the ages of 20-23, I worked and received health insurance through my company. I paid a certain amount each month and my employer did the same. I paid copays on doctor visits and medications.
From the age of 23-26, I was in law school and bought the school health insurance. I paid a certain amount on top of my tuition and don’t think I ever used it. I enrolled in a clinical trial to get my anti-depressant for free. That clinical trial also netted me $30 per visit as compensation.
From the age of 27-28, I traveled the world and bought insurance on the open, unregulated market. I paid a certain amount each month for pretend piece of mind and never used it. I neglected to tell them about my depression in the application. If I had told them, they would not have approved me. I just crossed my fingers and hoped I wouldn’t get hurt and stopped taking medication.
From the age of 28-33, I worked and received health insurance through my law firm. I paid a certain amount each month and my firm did the same. I paid copays on doctor’s visits and medication in Chicago. In Sydney, my insurance reimbursed me everything, which was nice.
And I already told you about my post-retirement insurance saga from 33-present.
Now my insurance is excellent and not stressful. I dig it. There’s no calculating cost. It’s a much better system. So maybe that’s something for you to look forward to in retirement.