Health insurance issues to be addressed

Published 1:21 am Saturday, April 12, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- More than a few planning for early retirement are facing the same difficult question: how do I obtain adequate health insurance for my retirement?
A Niles Chamber of Commerce seminar Wednesday, April 16, will provide expert advice and information on health insurance issues pertaining to early retirement or self employment.
It will also include details on the Chamber sponsored group health insurance plan.
The seminar will be in the Chamber of Commerce building's lower level on 321 E. Main St., Niles, from 7 p.m. – 8.30 p.m. and is the second Chamber member seminar this year.
Paul Rifenberg, CLU ChFC, from Reifenberg Insurance Agency on 721 E. Main St., will be this seminar's instructor.
Rifenberg, however, said he will try to provide seminar participants with information and things to be on the look-out for when buying retirement related health insurance.
One of the specific issues Reifenberg will speak about is how to retire early and still maintain health insurance until Medicare kicks in.
He will also speak about how self-employed people with an ongoing health condition can acquire coverage, as well as how people close to retirement can deal with drug prescription costs Medicare doesn't cover.
Insurance has become more expensive over the last three years and with the economy down, having proper insurance that covers all needs has become a burden an increasing amount of people can't bear.
Reifenberg said with the stock market down, most people see the had money they had invested in their retirement down 30 per cent from where it was three years ago.
That will deter some people from early retirement, he said.
He used a hypothetical of a 58-year-old who has paid of a mortgage, raised children and seen a son or daughter get married, to explain what some of the difficulties in obtaining health insurance can be.
For the 58-year-old, the cost of health insurance is often just too high, and because of the age, many insurances might simply not be available because of the health condition they require their clients to meet, he said.
Reifenberg said people who have worked for big companies, however, usually are better of than those who have worked for smaller companies.
But for someone who has been working their whole life but aren't provided with health insurance when retiring early, the situation is often quite different.
In addition to the number of different retirement related health insurance plans Reifenberg will talk about, he will also talk about the option of not taking out any health insurance at all, and some of the risks and possible benefits related to that.
The group seminar, Reifenberg foresees, will be a small group thing with much interaction between speaker and participants, and there will be ample opportunities to ask questions.
Anyone interested in participating in the seminar can call 683-3720.
Several Chamber seminars dealing with business related issues will happen throughout the year.