Senior Citizen Health Insurance
As a person gets older, it becomes more important to ensure that the choice of an health insurance plan is done with great care. This is particularly so, as the insurance plan should be the last that needs to be applied for. When looking for a plan with longevity, it is important to speak to an advisor who has monitored recent trends in the medical health market who will ensure your plan is the best that it can be for future years.
It is gradually more and more difficult to secure a good health insurance plan due to the increasing cases of pre-existing medical conditions in the world, added with restrictions imposed by insurers on minimum age requirements. Due to the desire of finding a health insurance plan that will function ultimately as the last one, it becomes pressing to find the perfect plan with an insurer that will support the ongoing features and benefits. Here we have highlighted key issues that you need to understand and consider:
Lifetime Age Limit
The majority of health insurance plans have a lifetime age limit which means at the age of about 60 or 65, a person will no longer be eligible for certain coverage. Unfortunately this period is naturally when people need the health insurance most.
Plans designed with a lifetime age limit are generally cheaper than those without limits, as the risk to an insurer is significantly less. Low premiums in cases such as these tend to attract unsuspecting clients who do not understand the longer term consequences of an age cap.
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Some plans may require you to pay an additional premium in order to cover any pre-existing conditions, but once this has been completed all treatment for medical complications and consequences of the condition will permanently be covered. Securing cover for pre-existing conditions does get more difficult as a person ages, and in many cases simply impossible. Some policies will exclude High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol, meaning that if you suffer from a heart attack there is a risk treatment would not be covered. It is important to note that after the heart attack, it is unlikely that any other new insurer would offer to cover your conditions.
Rate of premium increases
The rate of health insurance inflations has been running well above that of most other services or products in the global market. Worldwide, medical insurance treatment costs increased year on year at about 10% over the past ten years. The rise in healthcare costs have to then be passed on to insurers and ultimately to individuals paying the insurance premiums. Unfortunately, most analysts expect this rate of medical inflation to continue well above other parts of the economy due to the rapid pace of development in new healthcare technology and medication. Of course, most people recognize this to be very positive as the fact is that technology is going to let people live longer, healthier and happier lives but what is not often considered is how this is going to be paid for. Many people set up saving schemes for education, for buying a home or even a holiday but perhaps at the top of the list should be a savings fund for long term health insurance.
When buying a medical insurance plan it is important to see how insurers treat individuals as they get older. This can easily be done by looking at the profile of premiums as you get older. i.e. premiums in 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s. What this can show you is an insurers willingness, or capability to insure those later in life. Many insurers may guarantee to insure you up to 100 years old but the rate of premium increases later in life can differ significantly between providers and this is a good indicator of an insurer’s willingness to keep you as a client.
It is important to look for an insurer whose premium rates do not increase too sharply. Very often an insurer may not publish these rates but it is worth asking as this can tell you a lot. Of course, if you are buying a plan now at the age of 60, the rates you will pay by the time you are 80 will differ significantly and the insurer you select now may have a different premium profile later. However, it is still worth trying to at least find an insurer who is looking to keep you as a long term client. As an expert intermediary in health insurance, it is very clear to us than many insurers, although technically able to insure you for life, are not always interested in doing so as their premiums rise much more steeply than others for those in their 60s, 70s or 80s.
Chronic Conditions are sometimes called 'Lifestyle Illnesses' and as the name suggests, they tend to occur later in life and are often a consequence of an individuals lifestyle. Some examples include Diabetes and Hypertension. Insurers prefer not to cover these kinds of conditions as they are typically expensive to treat and are never cured, only managed. It is therefore very important to consider how an insurer will treat chronic conditions, particularly if you are buying a policy for later in life since many insurers will place caps, limits or lifetime restrictions on these illnesses which effectively reduce cover and limit the insurers risk to high cost health care claims. Cheaper health insurance plans almost always have severe limits on the cover of 'Lifestyle' illnesses and if you are looking for sufficient cover later in life as you get older, you need to have a thorough understanding of how the insurer will treat these conditions. A good health insurance plan typically does not have any caps or limits on Chronic Conditions.
Where are you going to live
Buying a health plan that will stay with you for life is very important, but you also need to consider how your lifestyle will change in the future and whether the insurer you select can accommodate certain changes in your lifestyle, such as where you choose to live.
Many insurers place restrictions on where you can live and in the most extreme cases, even leaving the country in which you brought the plan can result in the cessation of your policy. However, there are plenty of insurance companies that are a lot more flexible with location so this is essential to research, especially if you see yourself relocating in the future.
Perhaps the best example of the importance of location is in the USA as if you are an American and wish to return home after retirement, then most health insurance plans typically cease and cannot be renewed. However, there are some companies than will allow you to keep your cover in force so buying the right plan at the start is sensible as this avoids having to change insurer again in the future.
Furthermore, another issue that can be experienced with relocation involves the integration back into your home country's national healthcare system. For example, those moving back to Australia might be looking for a health plan that will meet the requirement of Medicare without having to reapply for a new health insurance plan and facing the possibility of restrictions or exclusions being introduced.
For these reasons, spending a little time considering your lifestyle choices in the long term and finding the right insurer to work with can be very useful.
Changing policy Coverage: Benefits as well as Premiums
As you get older, your requirements for your health insurance plan are most likely going to change. You may no longer be looking to cover dental for example, or you might not need evacuation cover anymore. Some health insurance companies do not have plans that are flexible or modular that allow you to control costs by only selecting the coverage you need. Furthermore, some insurers may not have a wide range of deductibles, co-payments or excesses.
A deductible, co-payment or excess is an excellent way to bring down the cost of a health insurance plan, particularly later in life when your budget may mean you are struggling to cover the cost of the premiums. It is common for people to make use of their state healthcare system for smaller simpler outpatient treatments but keep their own private health insurance plan for major illnesses or accidents. Therefore, selecting the right plan earlier in your life that that is flexible and modular will be a real benefit further down the road.
The above list if not an exhaustive analysis of the things to include in the evaluation and selection of an insurer. For those buying health insurance at age 60, approaching retirement or Senior Citizens, asking the right questions is the first step to purchasing the most suitable plan for you. Our job as health insurance intermediaries is to assist you in this process based on experience in the industry.