Controlling Your Health Care Costs in Retirement

It’s no secret that health care becomes a bigger concern for most of us as we grow older. More ailments are likely to develop, which means more money spent to visit health professionals and buy medication. Even if you remain healthy through your later years, the costs of preventative care and preparing for potential unexpected health situations are rising.

Health-related expenses will likely be one of the biggest components of your retirement budget. You need to be prepared to pay for comprehensive insurance coverage and potential out-of-pocket costs for care. Here are three strategies to help you manage this critical expense in retirement.

Understand how Medicare works

The good news for Americans age 65 and older is that you qualify for Medicare. That makes increased dependence on health care services more affordable. At age 65, most people automatically qualify for Medicare Part A at no cost, which primarily provides coverage for hospital stays and skilled nursing care. Medicare Part B must be purchased (approximately $109 per month in 2017 for most retirees). Part B covers the costs of visiting a physician, but with some deductibles. Many people purchase additional coverage to use for out-of-pocket expenses, such as a Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Supplement policy.

With Medicare, timing is important. Signing up when you first qualify for coverage will keep costs at the lowest level. If you maintain insurance through your employer after turning 65, you can delay Medicare enrollment without risking late penalties.

If you retire prior to age 65, you will need to purchase insurance on the open market to cover health-related expenses until you become eligible for Medicare. Individual coverage tends to get more expensive as you grow older, so work the cost into your retirement budget. Some employers offer retiree health insurance as a benefit. Check with your human resources department to see if this option is available to you.

Allocate sufficient funds for health care costs

As you develop your retirement income strategy, make sure you have money set aside for health expenses that will be your responsibility. By one estimate, the average 66-year-old couple will need to tap more than half of their lifetime pre-tax Social Security benefits to pay for health care expenses throughout retirement. Most people will likely have to rely, in part, on their own savings to help offset some medical expenses.

Along with other retirement savings, you may want to establish a health savings account (HSA) during your working years. HSAs are designed to help build tax-advantaged savings to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses you incur during your working years. However, any leftover funds can be applied to health expenses later in life, including premiums for Medicare and long-term care insurance. Keep in mind that you must be enrolled in a high deductible health plan to open an HSA.

Focus on your own health

One way to potentially keep health care costs under control in retirement is to create or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Small changes you make today, such as eating right or prioritizing sleep, could reduce the likelihood that medical issues will impact you later in life. Being physically active may also benefit your finances in retirement – according to the American Heart Association, it could potentially help you save $500 a year today on health-related expenses.

The 4 Influences of the Mind Body Spirit Business and Life

I have been influenced in many things in my life. I am a life long learner, and I always have been. Reading is one of my favorite past times, and I like to read the classics.

Universal human truth and the laws of physics are important to me because I want to understand how we are all connected to one another. These truths are applicable to all regardless of what you believe. When you operate within these laws, it changes your life, and you reap the benefits of your efforts.

Although I have had many influences, including my children, these four things are some of the most important influences I have had.

1. Jesus

These days, if you say Jesus, many automatically think of Christianity, and let’s face it, Christians really leave a bad taste in your mouth. The biggest reason is they aren’t teaching what the Bible really says.

Jesus was well liked by the common people. The problems he had came from his interactions with the religious leaders of the day. Jesus’s main teaching was love. Jesus said,

Matthew 22:36-40

King James Version (KJV)

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Now, whether you believe in Jesus or not really isn’t my business. What is important here is that we all love, and we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Self love is crucial here. Relationship. Jesus isn’t about religion. Jesus is about relationship, and this relationship is expressed through love. To love and be loved is a desire we all share.

2. Zen

Although there are many principles within Zen that you can apply to your life, there are three it is important to know. First, you already have everything you need you need inside of you to do whatever it is you are here for and want to with your life. In the words of Lao Tzu, “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

Second, “Before enlightenment, chop wood carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood carry water.” Even after you have determined what you want out of life and why you are here, you still have to do the work. With or without enlightenment, work and action are a necessary part of life and are required in order for us to achieve success.

The third part is understanding. In the Dao De Jing, it says, “It is wisdom to know others; It is enlightenment to know one’s self.” Once again, it is about relationship. No matter how enlightened you are, the real test comes within your relationships.

When you apply these three teachings to the teachings of Jesus you discover that you have all the resources you need to do what you want to do, do the work, and always remember that at the core of everything is relationship. Everything in the universe is in relationship to everything else, and it is all connected.

3. Quantum Physics

Quantum physics is somewhat more complicated than how I am about to explain it here. However, there are only two thing you need to understand.

First, quantum physics is the science of possibilities. Physicists theorize that given enough time every possibility is possible.

It is also science at the cellular level. It is where life begins, and it is where action begins. Accepting that all possibilities are possible and embracing all the possibilities in your life allows you to become open to all of the opportunities available to you.

4. U.S. Army

I have skills I will take with me for the rest of my life. Those skills are a part of me. I developed those skills through repetition. If you do something enough times, it becomes a part of you. Do something 1,000 times, and you develop competency. Do it 5,000 times, and you become skilled. Do it 10,000 times, and you become a master.

Of themselves, these influences all help you make the change you desire if you apply them. When you combine them, they give you a complete toolkit and the skill set to make true and lasting change, which always comes from within.

Health and Nutrition Stores Carry the Real Thing

Have you taken your vitamins today? Do I sound like your mother? Most doctors now recommend taking a good daily multiple vitamin. This is quite a reversal for many physicians who previously thought vitamins were a “waste of money”. Well, they were partly correct. Many vitamins and supplements ARE a “waste of money.” Why? Because they are mostly synthetic … phoney stuff, artificial colors and fillers with which your body doesn’t know what to do!

Test: does your present multi-vitamin list Vitamin E? Is it listed as Vitamin E (as d-Alpha Tocopherol) or does it have an “l” after the “d”? Vitamin E (as dl-Alpha Tocopherol) is synthetic and un-natural; made in the chemistry lab. Will it act the same way in your body? Will it do what you wanted your Vitamin E to do?

Professional health and nutrition stores carry the real thing; the genuine article. They don’t sell TV’s and hi-fi equipment or repair screen doors. All health food stores pledge to you their full attention to your questions and concerns about your health. They promise to empower you in every way to help you discover ways to improve your own immune system and address the health issues that matter to you. Remember though, health food and nutrition stores do not employ doctors or pharmacists, and any suggestions they make are based on other customer successes, company claims, or their own personal experiences with various products. Always consult a trained health care practitioner.

At a professional health and nutrition store they want to help you discover how real and natural vitamins and supplements can help improve your well being.

The older we get, the smarter we get about what we put in our mouths. And with supplements, we supplement an already good diet, and sort of fill in the gaps. Health and nutrition stores suggest that good nutrition begins in the produce aisle of either their store, if they sell foods or your grocery store, but then come to a good health and nutrition store to supplement your already healthy diet.