Older Americans worried about insurance coverage, health costs as they approach retirement

https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/payer/older-americans-worried-about-insurance-coverage-and-health-costs-as-they-approach-retirement?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTXpGak0yVmtNamN6TnpkaCIsInQiOiJtQnVtUmFtN0RYbHMzb2hyM1wvXC93N1kwRDJ6RmlNSjg5Q2VsYkFFSTJpZlptKzc2b1ByYTcrVzNxNUtcL3BwVWVIbzJBWThSWmY4ZXpHK1RBUWdWODhqdkxYMXZQRnJtNWV4TWc4aFJqVUdiXC9sWWh0MEdJK2NPckNzVDQ3ZlhoUEgifQ%3D%3D&mrkid=959610&utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal

A sizable percentage of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 are worried about their healthcare coverage as they head toward retirement, according to a new poll from the University of Michigan.

Although some of these concerns include things people can’t directly control, such as policy changes, many are focused on maintaining current coverage provided through an employer while reducing personal healthcare expenses.

“The ACA’s insurance coverage expansion was intended, in part, to reduce ‘job lock’ and allow individuals to change or leave their job without concern about becoming uninsured,” the report says. “However, data from this poll suggest that many adults age 50–64 still worry about maintaining employer-sponsored health insurance and keeping a job for that reason.”

About a quarter (27%) of respondents fear they won’t be able to afford their insurance over the next year, and nearly half (45%) expressed little to no confidence in being able to afford their insurance when they retire.

Meanwhile, 13% of those surveyed postponed medical care within the last year due to cost concerns. Another 15% postponed procedures until they could change their plan the following coverage year—so it would be covered, to incur lower out-of-pocket costs or to see a specific doctor in-network. Additionally, 8% of respondents between the ages of 60 and 64 reported delaying a procedure until they could get Medicare.

Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) said they were keeping a job, delaying retirement or considering delaying retirement to keep their employer-sponsored insurance. With that in mind, 71% of retirees were confident in their ability to afford insurance—a much higher percentage than those who were working (54%) or not working (49%).

Men were more confident than women that they could afford insurance at retirement (61% vs. 50%). Those in “excellent” health were more confident than those in “good” or “fair/poor” health (62% vs. 54% and 42%), as were those with a college degree compared to those without.

Nearly 8 in 10 respondents (79%) said they were very confident in their ability to navigate the health insurance landscape, though about 3 in 10 (29%) indicated little or no confidence that they could determine the out-of-pocket costs associated with a prospective service.

The study indicates Americans are closely watching and responding to challenges to the Affordable Care Act, such as a ruling by a federal judge in Texas striking down the law. Over the weekend, the judge issued a stay on the ruling, saying the healthcare law should remain in effect as appeals weave their way through the courts.

Half of those surveyed said they closely follow news about the ACA, Medicare or Medicaid, and 68% said they are worried about how their coverage may change due to federal policies.

“Regardless of potential federal policy changes, patients and their health care providers should discuss the out-of-pocket costs of health care, such as medical procedures, tests, or medications. Such discussions can help inform decisions about their health insurance options and the timing, choice, and appropriateness of health care services,” it concluded.

 

 

 

Healthcare Triage: Employer-Based Insurance Can Trap You at Work

http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/healthcare-triage-employer-based-insurance-can-trap-you-at-work/

Image result for job lock

Here’s another possible consequence of repealing the Affordable Care Act: It would be harder for many people to retire early. That’s the topic of this week’s Healthcare Triage.

If Obamacare Exits, Some May Need to Rethink Early Retirement

Here’s another possible consequence of repealing the Affordable Care Act: It would be harder for many people to retire early.

Americans reaching 65 become eligible for Medicare. Before reaching that age, some can get retiree coverage from their former employers. But not very many companies, especially small ones, offer medical insurance to retirees. If early retirees are poor enough, they could turn to Medicaid. To retire early, everybody else would need to turn to the individual health insurance market. Without the subsidies and protections the A.C.A. put in place, health care coverage would be more difficult to obtain, cost consumers more where available, and provide fewer benefits than it does today.

That means that if the A.C.A. is repealed, retiring early would become less feasible for many Americans.

This consequence is called job lock — the need to maintain a job to get health insurance. One of the arguments in favor of the A.C.A. was that it would reduce or eliminate job lock. With repeal of the law on the agenda of Congress and President Trump, there is renewed concern about how health insurance could affect employment and retirement decisions.