Going Naked

Category: Health Issues

By Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
The ever-present question
It is such a fatiguing topic and one that is filled with emotion and fear. As a nation we can hardly get past it and present solutions are sometimes as hard to handle as the problem itself.
I’m talking about the price of the administration of health care.

High cost and obstacles
We know a couple who pays $1,200 a month for a catastrophic, high deductible plan in the States and they have never had a claim. Another couple pays $2,000 a month just for the husband’s ability to be insured with his pre-existing heart condition. Some people are not able to be covered at all with US insurance companies due to a completely cleared up medical condition that happened 5, 8, or 10 years ago. They feel they are just twisting in the wind, and waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Sometimes our readers write to us about staying in their jobs for another 5 years or more to qualify for employer covered health insurance that will last “forever.” Is it worth it? they ask. They feel like they are spending their healthy years chained to a job that has lost its luster for something in the future that might not exist when they need or want it.

Going naked
As you might know, Billy and I have traded security for adventure many times in our lives. And when it comes to health insurance and the price for the administration of health care, it’s no different. Medical Tourism is a viable option and one that we espouse in our articles and books. We have been called on the carpet for our decisions in this area more than once.

However, among world travelers there is a phrase we use when we discuss health insurance policies and whether or not we want to continue holding one and paying the corresponding price tag. It’s called “going naked” or “going semi-naked.”

This phrase pretty much describes how it feels when one chooses to let that insurance policy go. One can feel pretty exposed and vulnerable – at least in the beginning. On the other hand, not being tied to a $12,000 -$24,000 or more payment per year opens up other possibilities. In a few years without a policy payment one can save enough money to afford something unexpected out of pocket.
For the most part we’re talking about travelers here, so these are people not living a full time traditional life in the States. They have made certain decisions and trade-offs to have the life they enjoy, and they have already received health care in other countries. There is always the first time for an experience such as this — going to a doctor in a foreign country — and the first time can be unnerving. But then after receiving the care, realizing the doctor speaks English, seeing the hospital or clinic with their computers and quality equipment and having the heart-felt care, things get placed into a better perspective.

Those who have never received medical service out of their own home country tend to look at this topic with jaded eyes or great suspicion.

It’s understandable.
Those who have gone through this experience feel their eyes have been opened to new possibilities. The idea of “going naked” of an insurance policy becomes a manageable possibility. Going “half-naked” (choosing a high deductible policy or travel insurance when visiting the States) is a comfortable middle ground.

Your choice
Once again, Billy and I are not advising anyone to do anything. We present options to challenging situations, and you can ruminate about it or toss it into the round file.
But what we see over and over again is how this one subject seems to be over-weighted as compared to other themes that could generate happiness and comfort in one’s retirement life. Categories such as cost of living, reasonable weather, having a community of friends and energizing, rewarding activities to do, for instance.

There is no one size fits all, to be sure. But if the overbearing cost of administration of health care is a concern in your retirement plans, you might consider some working alternatives.
Use this link for more information we offer on Medical Tourism. Or this one for Alternative Medical options.

About the Authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991.

Comments: What do you think about going naked for health care insurance? Tell us about how you are coping with this expensive and critical issue in the Comments section below.

For further reference:
Boomers Can’t Get Over the Hump on Long Term Care Insurance
Early Retirement: What to Do About Medical Insurance
Taking Baby Steps to Retirement in Mexico

Posted by John Brady on December 30th, 2011

3 Comments »

  1. Thanks for the thoughtful perspective. Sadly the issue is one that primarily concerns US citizens, being the only western country without a reasonable national health insurance solution. You’ve got a great idea…if one is living in the US, consider “going naked”. Salt away those savings in premiums and if a health issue arises, know that you can receive care equal to that in the States a short flight south in the major metropolitan areas of Mexico…Guadalajara, Mexico City, Queretaro, Leon, Merida, Monterrey, and such. Both I and my friends have experienced superior health care in Mexico at a fraction of the US cost. As you indicate, travel insurance when visiting the US can be obtained at a reasonable cost or, if living in a foreign country, there are policies that afford equal coverage to that in the States for far less that will also cover US visits. As to the unknown/fear/stress that can be associated with medical care in foreign countries, your perspective that there is care equal to and often superior to that found in the States is spot on. However, the challenge is how to identify such care providers. As with almost anything each of us do when researching a product or service, we look for recommendations from friends or professionals, and I’d suggest that when in a foreign country and in need of health care, one search the web for a peer-to-peer recommendation site for medical care specific to that country. Or better yet, identify the care providers before you travel!

    by Ken Raymond — January 4, 2012

  2. Well this is an interesting and very individualized topic. How you react has most to do with your current health, family history, financial resources and risk tolerance. All this assuming you are a citizen of the USA. I agree with Ken on that point. I have friends who are not citizens of this country and are constantly bewildered by American obsession with this topic and in particular how it constrains their thinking about where to live or travel. Even within the USA if you have to purchase individual coverage you may be challenged on a state by state basis. Once you are on medicare then you certainly are not covered outside of the USA. Interestingly I have met folks who are now US citizens but who travel to their home country, many times in the Far East, for any extensive medical or dental procedures. It certainly is an unfortunate situation for those who feel trapped in a job or a location because of concerns about having medical coverage. It is awful that this one element has become so onerous for many US citizens that it alters decisions that shouldn’t be influenced by this. It would be one thing if we really had stellar health care results at a reasonable cost compared to the rest of the world. But we don’t. I think if you really want to locate somewhere or travel abroad or live abroad for any length of time it is worth at least investigating the options and weighing the risks. You might be pleasantly surprised.

    by Mejask — January 4, 2012

  3. I worked in Hospital Finance for over 25 years. I know hospitals and their doctors welcome cash patients with open arms. Amish and other religous groups pay cash due to religous convictions concerning insurance companys. They actually get more from cash patients then from the ‘allowed’ insurance company payout. Just set up an appointment with the Finance Director. So consider this cash option when deciding to have a ‘savings’ account for health emergencies!:wink:

    by Ann — January 5, 2012

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