Helpful Terms & Tools
Ways To Save
Medicaid For Women
In Retirement & References
Unraveling Health Care
There’s no argument that health care has gotten complicated over the years – and so expensive. In fact, women ranked healthcare the number one financial burden for the US economy.
One thing that we know for sure – you and your family need some kind of healthcare coverage. Data show that health emergencies are among the most common economic hardships, and one in six families makes an extraordinary medical expense in any given year. The result? A financial impact from which a family cannot fully recover – even after a year. And not surprisingly, the financial gender gap worsens after a large, unexpected medical expense, leaving women with significantly more revolving credit card debt than men.
So we’re going to help you get educated on the things you need to know about healthcare and how it impacts your financial future. You still have to do the work on your particular situation, but we’ll share some pointers on how to figure out what you need and ways to work the system from a financial point of view. We’ll give you some ideas on how to get relief in the case of major healthcare expenses, so it doesn’t ruin your finances. We will also talk about healthcare expenses in your retirement, which will be significant, and give you some tools to help calculate those costs. And finally, we’ll give you a breakdown of Medicare and Medicaid and how and when each program can help you.
This is a big one, but it is as important for your overall financial picture as anything else we could talk about.
- How to make smart financial decision when it comes to healthcare – without sacrificing your health
- Ways to get help with health care expenses
- Why saving now for future healthcare costs is so important for women
- How to calculate costs of healthcare in retirement
- The different parts of Medicare
- When Medicaid plays a role in retirement healthcare
Where to Start
Every year you have important financial healthcare decisions to make, based on our own particular situation. Healthcare is complicated enough to begin with, but since every individual has a unique case, it just makes it that more difficult. You need to think about which plan to select, whether to go with a low or high deductible, how many times you might go to the doctor, your children’s needs, planned surgeries, whether or not you’re going to have a baby, and most importantly, what kind of plan can you afford.
So where do you start? Well, if you’ve been following along with our other education pieces, you’ve already worked through your budget. Having a number to start with can be helpful in any financial decision, so we recommend looking over your budget and seeing how much healthcare you can afford. Keep in mind you might need to figure out how to make this number bigger as you assess costs and your needs, but you have to start somewhere, right?
Next, we recommend capturing two sets of data:
Go through your medical needs for you and any dependents you may be responsible for. Do you have any ongoing medical conditions? What medications do you take regularly? How many times per year, on average, do you go to the doctor? Are you thinking about getting pregnant? This information will be important when you look at available plans.
Gather information on healthcare plan options, including the costs and coverages. Your employer may or may not offer a plan, and that plan may or may not be the best option for you. Your state may have a healthcare exchange, and there is also a federal exchange, where you can shop for plan options. You may also qualify for CHIP, Medicare, or Medicaid. All of that can be reviewed here: Healthcare.gov. You can also look at plans by a simple Internet search, or if you have an insurance advisor they may be able to help you identify and evaluate plans.
Then comes the really hard part – you need to go through each plan, assess what it covers and, more importantly, what it doesn’t cover, and make a decision. There are trade offs you will have to make (see some tips below), but if you do your homework you can make an informed decision. We’re not going to lie: this is a really difficult process, and at times you’re going to feel like you need a crystal ball. The decisions you make could be life changing for you and your family. But we know that you can handle it – because you’re a savvy and intelligent woman!
Did You Know
Before ACA, women buying insurance on the individual market were routinely charged up to 50% more for monthly premiums than men. This practice was known as “gender rating.”