A gentleman is turning 65 years old in the autumn. One day, we happened to meet (as I meet many people who are going to turn 65 years old in the near future). After a very short while, it was clear to me that he was well-informed about Medicare, and well-aware that his particular location had higher Medigap rates than others in the nearby area. The gentleman informed me that he was retired from a large, well-known Fortune 500 company. Coincidentally, I was aware of this particular company, and its specifics.
Our Converstaion (the gist)
Me: That company’s retiree health benefits were substantially worse than the private market alternatives.
Him: Yes, I am well aware of this fact. I am researching the alternatives.
Me: What did you do when you were at the company?
Him: I was directly responsible for employee benefit plans.
The world is competitive, and companies have one constituency: shareholders. They are the owners. Retirees? Well down the line among those interested parties. I am sorry, but that is the financial reality in this global economy. Even this gentleman knew that his company’s retiree health benefits could be replaced with a private plan which would be superior than his company’s. And he is right.
The best thing a retiree can do is to NOT assume anything. This is your new vocation. Medicare represents the intersection of two of your most important assets, your health, and retirement savings. The example above illustrates why you should not presume that your former employer will take care of you; while I hope that is the case, circumstances may dictate otherwise.
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