University of Phoenix
HCS/310 Health Care Delivery in the U.S.
June 18, 2012
With the high cost of health care today, health insurance continuation is an important consideration for many unemployed individuals, job changers, dependents of covered workers, and retirees who no longer receive employer-provided benefits. Despite several laws in effect that make it possible to extend employer-provided health insurance, some workers continue to experience "job lock." This is a situation where workers, particularly those with pre-existing health conditions, feel that they must remain in a particular job for fear of losing their health insurance coverage. Many people make health and long-term care insurance decisions in their 50s and 60s. The availability and cost of health insurance is a key factor when retiring prior to eligibility for Medicare at age 65. About a third of early retirees have employer-sponsored coverage. Others must find coverage on their own or be married to someone with health benefits. Going without insurance in later life should not be considered an “option,” for several reasons. First, medical expenses and the incidence of life-threatening diseases generally increase with age. Second, it’s a big gamble. About half of all personal bankruptcies are associated with unpaid medical bills. One way to lower health insurance costs is to purchase a high-deductible plan. Eligible workers who lose their job or choose to leave are also entitled to 18 months of continued group health insurance under a federal law called COBRA. With longer average life expectancies, the cost of long-term care is another major financial risk. The term “long-term care” refers to a wide range of services including assistance at home with daily activities to care in a nursing home. The risk of long-term care can be dealt with in three ways: retain it (self-insuring if you have a high net worth),...