With improvements in medical treatment and increases in longevity, an unexpected illness when you are in your 60s, 70s or 80s may drag on longer than it did just a decade ago. One of the first things you should do is to learn how your current employee benefits (or those of your spouse) work and understand how the employer treats retiree health benefits. What will be the implications of that plan in retirement?
If your spouse is covered under your plan only, or vice versa, find out how the spousal benefits will work in retirement. For instance, will the surviving spouse be entitled to continue with the benefits if the employee dies? Having a complete understanding of how the benefits work will allow you to make informed decisions going forward.
Clients should also look deep into their family histories and anticipate what kinds of health problems they may encounter. For example, if you have a family history of heart disease and you’re currently treating your own high cholesterol, opt now for those essential medical tests, such as a stress test. Your insurance should cover this, given your family history and current treatment.
The next step is to project costs for those benefits. A good financial plan can help address some of this risk. With health-care costs of treatment escalating — and potentially less of it covered by Medicare — the financial burdens of a significant health issue can have an adverse financial effect on a retirement plan over time.
Take the necessary actions now to stay healthy and strong. We decide there’s no time to exercise at the gym because we have too much work to do, and making money is our priority.
People ignore the “warning signs” from their bodies and are not proactive in tackling potentially serious health problems. They work so hard so they can live well now, and enjoy the fruits of their sacrifices and hard work in the future. But by not dealing with their health issues properly, they end up living with unnecessary pain and suffering. Not to mention the financial and emotional burden they place on themselves and their families.