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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

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Age 65 health insurance planning

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 3/15/2011

Q: I was laid off 12 months ago and my wife and I currently have Cobra coverage. I could not get less expensive coverage because of my pre-existing medical conditions. I will turn 65 in four months and will have Medicare and Medicaid coverage at that time. My wife is only 62 and will need separate health insurance. She is in excellent health with no pre-existing conditions. We live in New Hampshire. What health insurance with reasonable premiums will be available to her? Secondly, would it be beneficial for me to get additional coverage for myself or would that be just a waste of money?

A: The ideal coverage for her would be a 3 year short term medical insurance plan until age 65. This is not yet available in New Hampshire, so use shorter 6 month policy for her now. This will cost about half of the amount of COBRA coverage so the savings are substantial for a person who has no pre-existing medical conditions. These are listed at .

Most Americans need supplemental long term health care insurance in addition to Medicare to protect their financial assets from medical claims late in life but that decision is based on an individual assessment of your personal finances. If your income and assets are already so low that you qualify for Medicaid, then this general rule does not apply.

Short term medical insurance saves premiums and preserves continuation of coverage rights but does not pay for treatment of pre-existing conditions.

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