Unaffordable Care Act

Unaffordable Care Act

For the past 20 years, I have had about 40 skin cancers or precancerous lesions removed by either surgery or by liquid nitrogen.  Now that I am retired and my insurance coverage has drastically changed due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I may have to limit my skin cancer treatments.  Maybe it should be referred to as the Unaffordable Care Act as it was called in a July 5, 2015 Forbes article.  In this article author Richard Eisenberg stated, “…people are finding themselves facing enormous out-of-pocket health expenses — sometimes leading them to deplete their savings and rack up serious medical debt.”

I had an in-network office visit in December.  The dermatologist biopsied four lesions and treated four precancerous lesions with liquid nitrogen.  I just received the doctor and lab bills.  The copay to the doctor was $80 on the day of the visit.  I now owe him an additional $314.02 for his services.  The lab charged $544.12 for pathology of the biopsies.  That one visit cost $938.14.  The really sad part of this story is that I have health insurance and I am scheduled to return to the doctor in February for complete removal of three of the basal cell cancerous lesions and I have several more on my legs which we have not even biopsied yet.  How can I afford this medical care without taking money out of my emergency savings account?  Isn’t that why we pay for insurance?

I currently pay $210 a month or $2,520 annually for health insurance and my individual in-network deductible is $6,000.  My pension check is only $2,055.87 per month.  My health insurance coverage (if you can call it that) takes 10.2 percent from my check.  I can afford that as long as I don’t go to the doctor.

My mom, age 84, doesn’t go to the doctor to get needed care due to high costs.  My late father gave up cancer treatments due to costs and quality of life issues; he chose to die instead at age 80.  Am I and others headed toward that same predicament?

I do not want to spend my savings and retirement account on medical bills.  That is not why I put money in my 401(k) for 25 years.  I invested at least 10 percent of my income so I could travel and enjoy my retirement.  With my history of basal cell skin cancer, I can see those life-long dreams disappearing in favor of paying high medical expenses and insurance payments.

Is this situation what the federal government wanted when they passed the socialized medical legislation, Affordable Care Act, and Barack Obama signed it into law in 2010?  America used to have the best medical care in the world at a reasonable cost and many people traveled here for treatment.  Now, many American citizens, especially retirees, cannot afford much-needed healthcare.  Maybe it should be called the Unaffordable Care Act or the No Care Act.

What has been your experience?

From the Center of Retirement Research…Medicare Benefits

Medicare Enrollment Help is PlentifulImage result for medicare images

October 13, 2016

“Open enrollment starts Oct. 15 for people who’ve signed up for Medicare benefits and must buy into or change their supplemental Advantage or Part D prescription drug plans.

The Medicare Rights Center in New York tells me that you can ‘make as many changes as you need during this period’ and that ‘only your last coverage choice will take effect Jan. 1.’

A long list of resources appears at the end of this blog to help Medicare beneficiaries through the enrollment process. But there’s a lot of hoopla around the Oct. 15-Dec. 7 enrollment period, so it’s important to know what Oct. 15 is not about.

One’s birthday – and not a date on the calendar – determines when people should initially enroll in the Medicare program. Most people turning 65 who are not covered by their own or their spouse’s employer health insurance at work are required to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B during a seven-month period that starts three months prior to their 65th birthday. During this seven-month window, new Medicare participants must also sign up for their Part D drug plans – or risk paying a lifelong penalty. Oct. 15 is not the trigger date for selecting Medigap plans either.”

Read more at http://squaredawayblog.bc.edu/squared-away/medicare-enrollment-help-is-plentiful/?shareadraft=baba14345_57eaaf8795dfa

Considering long-term care insurance?

Long-Term Care Combo Policies

by Terry Savage

August 9, 2016

“Needing long-term care is an unpleasant thought as you approach retirement age.  But ducking this issue could be the most expensive mistake you make about your retirement.

Aside from the obvious reluctance to think you might need help with basic activities of living, you might figure you’ve saved enough to cover the costs of care.  Think again.

According to the latest Cost of Care survey by Genworth, which sells long-term care insurance, it now costs an average of about $3,800 per month for in-house care for a year, a similar amount in assisted living and about $7,700 per month for a private room in a nursing home.

Need for care typically lasts only about two to three years, but extended care for Alzheimer’s could wipe out (your) savings….

According to Home Instead Senior Care, one of the largest franchisers of care-giving services, only about 20 percent of its clients pay for care through long-term care insurance policies.  The rest are digging into their own pockets.”

Read more

To compare long-term care costs by state go to:  https://www.genworth.com/about-us/industry-expertise/cost-of-care.html

Terry Savage is a nationally known expert on personal finance, the markets, and the economy. Terry is a regular blogger at the Huffington Post. She is a frequent guest on television and radio shows, including CNN, CBS, and she has appeared many times on Oprah.


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