You are here:

Life & Health Insurance/Health care insurance

Advertisement


Question
Hello, thanks in advance for your help and time.

I am 63.5 years old and retiring Dec 31, 2015.

My question is: Should I take my company's COBRA plan or get my own individual health insurance? And should I continue the COBRA dental plan my company offers ($30 a month)?

I am in good health. My only conditions are sleep apnea (moderate) which is under control, and acid reflux. Everything else is in great condition.

I am thinking two things. 1. With the COBRA, I will have great coverage if something happens. Cost is about $500.

2. With individual health insurance, I might be spending less and save out of pocket money. But if something happens healthwise, I might be liable for huge hospital bills, for instance.

So, I don't know the best thing to do.

Again, thanks for your help.

Answer
Actually, your assessment of "spending less", while certainly the case for some, is probably not quite accurate in your case in terms of an individual plan versus COBRA. Yes, on average, COBRA is more expensive, but I am willing to bet yours is one the rare cases that is true. If you're used to group health coverage, you probably are not aware of the constant cycle of changes with individual coverage. You are just like 85% of the population in that regard. At 63 years old, if you want a plan that will cover prescriptions, copayments for doctor visits, and have a mid-range deductible ($2,000-$3,000), you will need to be prepared to pay about $500-$650 per month. PPO plans that give you access to many physicians and hospitals, have gotten out of hand, and some out of the market altogether.

Individual plans have gotten excessively expensive over the past 3 years. If your COBRA plan is $500/mo., I see no individual health plan option that would be able to beat that if you have a lower deductible ($500-$1,500). Plus, you are only about a year away from Medicare which should lower your costs significantly. You might just check out an individual plan or two, but I highly doubt you will be able to find an individual premium for less than $500 unless you enroll in a high-deductible, no copay plan or an HMO plan.

As far as dental, personally I'm not a fan unless it's through a group option. For $30 per month, it might be nice to have in your back pocket, but if you never go to the dentist, then why pay for it? That seems like a pretty good price as long as it's a good plan with decent coverage and a substantial physician network.

Hope this helps! You're actually in a good spot compared to a lot of people.

Thank you!

Life & Health Insurance

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


John Claborn

Expertise

Any question on individual or employee-sponsored health insurance, Term life insurance, or Medicare questions. I cannot answer any question involving investment funded life insurance or any government-sponsored entitlement question that does not involve a private insurance company.

Experience

Our agency has over 35 years of combined experience. I, personally have been in the insurance business for 6 years. I have dealt with every type of client out there, young and old.

Organizations
Texas Association of Health Underwriters Lubbock Association of Health Underwriters - Media/Communications Chair Young Professionals of Greater Lubbock Premier Networkers of Greater Lubbock (President)

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Texas Tech University. Associates of Arts in Business Administration from Frank Phillips College.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.