Is weather more important than healthcare costs? According to a new national research from Longevity Alliance and conducted by Harris Interactive, U.S. adults aged 40+ who plan on relocating after they retire may overlook how their healthcare costs could change from one location to another. Actually, about three in four (76 percent) of adults planning to relocate after retirement say that they consider the cost of healthcare as important or very important in their decision. But, the cost of healthcare is ranked number three of five behind the overall cost of living, and climate, and just ahead of ease of transportation and proximity to friends and family. What this means is that overlooking the cost of healthcare and health insurance can have real consequences for retirees. Costs vary from one part of the country to another and insurance premiums, Medicare health plans, Medicaid, and long-term care rates can also change exponentially. As an example, consider that the average annual premium for a Medicare Supplement insurance policy in New York could be around $3,700; yet that same policy holder moving to Phoenix will find the premium to be as low as $1,200. Quite a difference. According to Longevity Alliance president Steve Zaleznick, too may times, people considering retirement and relocation don’t give any thought to how it could affect their healthcare and insurance costs. “As retirees grow older, those costs grow larger, so choosing a region that makes those costs affordable is a key component of a sound retirement strategy.” Zaleznick offers five specific tips before anyone moves:
- Call the current insurer once a relocation area has been identified. Find out the cost difference? Also, check if there are other plans available that might better fit your needs.
- Contact a broker who represents a variety of insurance companies and plans to identify the available options. And, get quotes from at least two different companies to see how rates and benefits compare.
- Ask about Medicare Advantage in the new location. It is usually a lower cost option than a Medicare Supplement Plan.
- Investigate healthcare costs you will be paying for yourself so that you’ll be able to budget for items that insurance doesn’t cover. Check out physician fees, hospital costs, routine exam prices, maintenance drugs, and the cost of dental care.
- Plan for long-term care by finding out the average cost in your new location. Is the daily benefit adequate?
Incidentally, Longevity does have a copy of its guide “Uncover a Hidden Cost of Moving: Health Care” on its Web site at www.longevityalliance.com. It is part of its Longevity Milestones series on financial and healthcare issues facing retirees and those planning for retirement.
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