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Consider Healthcare on This Veterans Day

Consider adding medical services freedom to your financial planning goals

The problems historically plaguing the Veterans Administration underscore an unpleasant truth about aging: ever-increasing costs and red tape endanger quality health care for older Americans, whether they are veterans or not. Their best defense is to build up enough personal capital to pay for better care on their own.

Health-care snafus are not new, just worse than ever as the nation ages. VA officials have warned for years that the agency’s facilities reported inaccurate waiting times and scheduling failures that harmed veterans seeking care. The national focus is new – the difficulties are not.

The Veterans Health Administration is true government-run health care. The government owns and operates the facilities and the doctors and all personnel are federal employees. In “socialized” medical systems like the VA, state control is total.

The Canadian Model is Not the Answer

Appearing on a PBS show, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he saw the Affordable Care Act as a first step to a fully government-run health-care system similar to the single-payer system in Canada and Great Britain. While that idea has proponents, lessons from those models suggest caution (remember that the Affordable Care Act still exists, the Individual Mandate was repealed).

A study from Canada’s Fraser Institute, a public-policy think tank in Vancouver, noted “lengthy wait times for health care may have contributed to the deaths of an estimated 44,273 Canadian women between 1993 and 2009.” The study also found that “for every one-week increase in wait times for medically necessary elective procedures, three Canadian women died.”

Here at home, we continue to hear of difficulties that citizens encounter in finding doctors who will take Medicare and Medicaid. While we do not know whether there will be another iteration of the Affordable Care Act and other government-supported medical and drug programs, there are health-care and wealth-care decisions that you should make.

Nothing is Free

A couple on Medicare in reasonable health and taking generic drugs for various conditions like diabetes or hypertension easily can spend $12,000 to $14,000 per year on premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. A Fidelity study indicated that the average couple could expect to spend more than $220,000 for health care over the course of their retirement. This figure greatly exceeds the $50,000 estimate that roughly half of the pre-retirees surveyed thought they would need.

There is a long list of things that Medicare won’t pay for, including long-term care. Long before AARP mails you a membership card, you should increase savings just to cover retirement expenses. But assume that your retirement expenses – including health care and assisted living expenses – are likely to be far more than you think. So, you should explore additional options, including insurance solutions, while you are younger and healthier

Medical Services Freedom

Fiscal fitness and physical fitness correlate when it comes to freedom and independence in retirement. But all that stuff on your bucket list? It takes money and energy to actualize your dreams.

Be in position financially to opt for private-pay medical solutions or concierge services if needed to assure timely access and the care you need. Add “medical services freedom” to your budget and asset-building strategies.

Get regular checkups, exercise and consider hiring a personal trainer. Preventative medicine and staying as healthy as possible may be the best antidote to a medical system plagued by bureaucratic red tape and interference in the doctor-patient relationship.

It isn’t just veterans who must be wary. We all get old.

 

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