Throughout history it is has been said that there are only two axioms permanent in life: death and taxes. But, thanks regulations from the federal government, there is a third, which just happens to be healthcare costs.
Now, please keep in mind, this is nothing new and it is not something that was first incorporated by the Affordable Care Act, even though the ACA has expanded the concept to reach all US citizens that are over the age of 18 and who are no longer direct dependents of their parents.
This 3rd axiom, in fact, has been with us since 1993 following a change to the Program Operations Manual System (POMS) of Social Security which altered the rules to state “that any retiree who elects to opt out of Medicare Part A will automatically lose his or her Social Security retirement benefits and will be forced to repay any Social Security benefits received prior to opting out of Medicare Part A”.
Please note, that Medicare Part A is actually free of any costs for those that have qualified for it (qualifications are the same as Social Security’s), but it should be realized that both Medicare Parts B & D, which are not free, have late enrollment penalties that are both compounding and perpetual if enrollment is delayed past eligibility.
Ultimately, every single person who happens to reach the age of 65 or older, who elects to retire and who is no longer considered to have credible health insurance through an employer or a spouse’s employer, must have health coverage or they will forfeit all current, future and even past Social Security benefits and the frightening part of this axiom may, just be, the complete lack of attention to this cost.
According to a recent survey by Sun Life Financial it was concluded that more than 92% of those polled ”either have no idea what their healthcare costs will be in retirement, or vastly underestimate those costs” and with 76 million Baby Boomers heading towards retirement the repercussions may be very large.
Again, for those that make it to the third stage of life, retirement, you now have a 3rd axiom: healthcare costs, have you planned for them yet?
To learn more about how the costs associated to your health in retirement will impact your overall retirement and to calculate what your healthcare may cost please see our free software at www.yourretirementcosts.org.