Being 60 and self employed, I have learned, is not for the faint of heart, when it comes to health care cost and availability.
What I have learned is, decent health insurance coverage in a private policy, which includes the kind of prescription coverage that many 60-somethings need, can cost about the same as the starting salary in my first job as a lawyer after law school.
The market-place policies, through Obamacare, are really of no benefit in such a situation, in that, while they are relatively cheap and cover pre-existing conditions, they do not provide the level of coverage that many people require to make care and prescriptions affordable. And in fact, such coverage is not universally accepted at all, in any event.
The reality is that to obtain affordable health care coverage in such a scenario, you need to figure out a way to be part of a group plan – the bigger the group, the better.
Then, at age 65, Medicare kicks in, which totally changes the game in favor of seniors for access to affordable health care under that federal government system.
But between the ages of 60 and 65, self employed persons who do not have large group coverage available, and who take regular prescriptions for blood pressure, cholesterol, and/or blood glucose issues, are up against a wall.
The fact is, I have known many people – in the age group for which private insurance is insanely astronomical – who have gone to work for or continued to work for large entities that offer available health insurance, for that reason alone.
And the reality that we can see from a careful review of medical bills and those infamous explanations of benefits that health insurers disseminate, is that health insurers do not so much pay for services as they negotiate huge discounts with the major suppliers of medical services and medicines for their insured.
But then, the cost of medical services and medicines charged to those without health coverage – who are not part of the group for which gigantic discounts from full retail cost are negotiated – are huge, and similarly unaffordable.
This whole scenario effectively disqualifies untold numbers of Americans from the entrepreneurial world, and forces many with personal or family health needs to seek employment only with large employers that offer the availability of health coverage.
A 60-year-old person who fits the common medical profile that calls for regular medical monitoring and maintenance is no greater risk and cost if they are employed by a large employer that provides them available health care coverage than if they are self-employed. Yet, the difference in cost between what is paid for those same benefits by a large group, and by the individual, is astronomical.
As I write this, I am still contemplating my options. A part of me would much rather buy a lake house or two than pay for health insurance. But that may not be the wisest option in the long run.
In discussing this scenario with a friend, who happens to be a…