Art and Connie's 2008-2011 Adventures travel blog

It is November already and I am still getting over my “sticker shock” from October. For many people, the month of October means cooler weather and the accompanying fall foliage. For me, it also means Open Enrollment for our medical plan. It is when we find out how much our medical coverage cost will rise for the upcoming year. Yup, Sticker Shock once again.

Now, I can only complain so much. I am lucky that my former employer still provides retiree medical coverage. Unfortunately, the company only picks ups about a third of our high-deductable plan. Since we retired four years ago, we have averaged over 20% increases. If the increases continue, I expect that we’ll be paying 200% more for health coverage by the time that Art becomes eligible for Medicare in six years.

We’ve looked at switching to an individual plan but generally those plans only cover catastrophic events. Plus, in South Dakota, our choices of health care providers are limited. For South Dakota residents, some plans require you to actually live in the state and not simply have a mail-forwarding address. Other plans require you to come back to the state for any non-emergency situation or elective surgery or treatment. Keep in mind that some providers consider treatment of certain types of cancer as elective!

We’re lucky that we don’t have any health care problems right now and we don’t take any medication on a routine basis. We would easily qualify for an individual plan however we found that these plans would cost roughly the same as what we are paying now for less health coverage. The only other choice would be to obtain catastrophic coverage. We are still mulling over this option. I can’t image what health coverage would cost for folks that are not as healthy as we are.

Something certainly needs to be done about health care in this country. It is ridiculous to think that a yearly increase of 20% is acceptable. No wonder so many people can’t retiree early to enjoy life while they can. They can’t afford to lose their health care benefits!

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