I write about the financial challenges of paying for college, managing higher-education debt, and the steep cost of healthcare. I want to help people take control of their finances so that they can enjoy the other parts of their life. What I enjoy: running with friends, kayaking with my husband, and playing Legos with my son. Follow me on Twitter (@RosatoDonna).
Do your wife’s retiree health benefits provide for the option to buy insurance through the employer or actually help cover some of the cost as well? Either or, that’s an awesome option you folks have that very few folks are offered. My employer would offer retiree health insurance in a similar situation as your wife, but I’d have to pay the cost full-freight so I don’t think it would be a great option for us (plus 55 is still a long ways off for me).
One last piece about short-term plans: you can now keep a short-term plan for a year and renew them twice. In effect, that means short-term plans can now last three years. These extensions from previous regulations gives short-term plans a more even playing with regular health insurance. However, beware of short-term plan limitations before deciding on one of those plans. 
Let’s take the good Doc for example. Here we have a generally healthy family including his wife and two boys. No chronic illnesses or pre-existing conditions; no intentions of expanding the family further and trying for a girl; his boys are past the age of when many childhood surgeries happen (ear tubes, tonsils, etc); and as a bonus they have a well-stocked Health Savings Account which can be used to cover the deductible in case of emergency.
Humana group dental plans are offered by Humana Insurance Company, HumanaDental Insurance Company, Humana Insurance Company of New York, Humana Health Benefit Plan of Louisiana, The Dental Concern, Inc., Humana Medical Plan of Utah, CompBenefits Company, CompBenefits Insurance Company, CompBenefits Dental, Inc., Humana Employers Health Plan of Georgia, Inc., or DentiCare, Inc. (DBA CompBenefits).

Can anyone address the elephant in the room: as medical therapeutics change and biologics are available and more appropriate for various conditions it is noteworthy to realize that these costs are often not covered by many government insurers and not eligible for foundations grants (as are sometimes offered in the form of copay cards, or copay assistance). I’m talking 20% out of pocket cost for a biologic can run 1500-2000 out of pocket after insurance. If you happen to get one of these rheumatologic or immunologic diseases, Medicare is NOT going to cut it. Are people folding in these possibilities into their projected costs in retirement. How does the FIRE community think about these things (I mean the medical FIRE community…I don’t think the non-medical FIRE community is even aware of these nuances unless they’re already dealing with a chronic or rare disease under treatment).
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ACA has automatic re-enrollment in place for 2018. So if you are happy with your ACA plan, it is still available, and your income is not changing from 2018, then you can use the re-enrollment fallback if you want to. However, we suggest re-shopping your plan for 2019 since there may be better plans available to you that were not available in 2018. Additionally, it is very important to report income changes to the Marketplace if you are receiving a subsidy.
Before Congress passed the legislation (which is far-reaching; the elimination of the individual mandate penalty is only a tiny portion of it), the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that eliminating the individual mandate penalty would cause premiums in the individual market to be 10 percent higher throughout much of the next decade, versus what they would have been if the mandate penalty had been left in place.
Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.
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