With Medicare and hopefully a good “use anywhere in the US” supplemental health insurance policy you should be able to travel in the states and rest easy if you get sick or hurt that your insurance will pay the bulk of your health care expense.
If you are retiring younger than the Medicare age and don’t have health insurance from your previous job, Yikes! With the new health law, “Obamacare”, at least if you have a pre-existing condition, you can get health insurance albeit pretty expensive. Thank “Obamacare” for the availability of any insurance policy at all to buy as before this law folks with pre-existing conditions frequently could not qualify any health insurance. Think you don’t have a pre-existing condition? Think again! One long time insurance broker told us that he had never seen or heard of anyone over 55 yrs. old that did not have a pre-existing condition. Be sure to get your health insurance ducks in a row before you give up the health insurance you have now.
Of course, you could self-insure if you are very, very well to do.
There are high deductible policies available to help lower the monthly cost somewhat. Also, there are state run High Risk Pools but likely these may have health care provider restrictions. There are likely more health insurance options and considerations than mentioned here, you will just need to do some thorough research to find what is best for your situation.
You could take your chances and have no health insurance, you won’t be the first and you won’t be the only one. There are folks that say, well, they will just stay healthy, never fall, etc. Or, maybe someone has this idea that if you go to the emergency room they have to take care of you no matter what you can afford. This is a risky, partial truth. Yes, in an emergency, the hospital can’t just dump you on the street if you have no way to pay. But what if you don’t have an emergency. What about people who get something that requires long-term care. For example they are unlikely to do Chemotherapy or Radiation Therapy in the Emergency Room!
If you are going to travel, whatever health insurance you have or get, make sure you know if you can use it anywhere in the US. Better, of course, your insurance would cover you if you leave the country. Any out-of-country travel warrants checking on your health insurance coverage.
We don’t want to get into the legal/ethical/political arguments here, this is just how we see the health insurance situation.
MEDICAL CARE ON THE ROAD
We had been staying in a National Park a few months ago and had a wonderful day of exploring and enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Came home, had a great dinner, relaxed and got on the computer to check our email. Then it happened…I felt a growth on the skin of my left shoulder. It was a Sunday night. Both of us have brothers who have had melanoma so neither of us take a growth on the skin lightly. I said out loud I knew it was nothing but my internal talk said “are you sure”, “do you want to let it go and take the risk”. So I Googled Dermatologists in the area outside the park and started reading about their qualifications and patient reviews. Monday morning, we drove to one of the Dermatologists’ office I’d researched, walked in, explained my situation and they fit me into their schedule two hours later. The doctor seemed nice and competent and agreed with my assessment that the spot I came in for was nothing but he did see a couple of others he didn’t like. He mapped them, biopsied them and later called me on my cell phone with the biopsy results. negative. He also sent me a copy of the exam and biopsy reports for my traveling medical records. My point is, there are good doctors available all over the country. If it is a true emergency, you must get to the nearest emergency medical care. If it is just important, you can take some time and find someone to see you, just make sure they accept your insurance. Some would say this method of getting care is not a perfect arrangement but if you are on the road and need care, it works. Here in Arizona, where we are today, if we had medical problem that needed to be handled on a timely basis but not a true emergency, we would go to the Mayo Clinic. We do have our medical records with us so time will not need to be spent figuring things out at the last-minute. We see our “regular” doctors routinely when we are around. We just call ahead and make appointments. Our “regular” doctors know we are in town irregularly and for short periods so they order whatever annual tests they know will be needed. Then, just as you would at home, be you own health monitor; have hypertension–do your regular self BP checks, diabetic–do your regular BS self checks, exercise, watch your diet and weight, etc. Traveling is not a reason to ignore your health needs. You don’t want to get that huge “girth of contentment”.
DENTAL CARE ON THE ROAD
I kept my dental insurance for the 18 mo. (COBRA) period. I think I used it one time and the cost of the work was less than the cost of the insurance. The purchase of dental insurance is really a personal decision. Just as there are competent medical doctors all over the country, so too are there competent dentists. If you have a tooth ache you will need to seek care. Check, as best you can, to try to get the best care available. Good dental care is important for your dental health and for your medical health.