Helpful Tips For Baby Boomers Who Are Unemployed Due to Covid19
Last year I interviewed Danielle Roberts, Medicare Specialist and Co-Founder of Boomer Benefits, an award-winning insurance agency for national insurance carriers. I had Danielle on the show because I thought it would be interesting to learn about Medicare. Even though I am ways away from retirement, this is information that we all need to know now so that we can make the right decisions to plan for our future. Also, as a generation X’er I have parents that are approaching that age and it feels good to be able to check in with them to make sure they are doing the right things when it comes to Medicare compliance. If you haven’t heard that interview Listen Now.
With the Covid19 virus disrupting life as we knew it, I thought it would be helpful to talk to Danielle about options for Baby Boomers who have been laid off and need some resources.
If you are 62 years old and get laid off are there any cost-effective options for health care?
We would recommend starting by comparing options on the ACA exchange at https://www.healthcare.gov/get-coverage/ to see if there is an option that will work for you. If your income is below a certain household limit, you may qualify for a subsidy that can make this coverage more affordable for you. You can check into COBRA if you strongly need to keep your previous coverage but this is usually a much more expensive option.
Is it a good idea to take your retirement early if you are laid off and you are a couple years away from the retirement age?
This is all about how big of a nest egg you have and if you have properly estimated your costs in retirement. Most people don’t realize that a retired couple in 2020 is estimated to spend $285,000 in retirement on healthcare alone. When you delay taking Social Security benefits until full retirement age, you can significantly increase the amount of your monthly payment, which affects not on your retirement benefit but potentially your widow/widower’s benefit if you pass away before your spouse. Of course, there are some situations where taking it early is unavoidable but consider working with a financial planner so that you understand the big picture.
What is the best way to continue to get medication at a low price if you have been laid off and have no insurance?
We recently ran a poll in our private Medicare Q&A Facebook group and got some great responses for what seniors are doing to reduce their drug costs, even if they have Medicare. Among the top tips were using sites like GoodRx.com and switching to a generic version to save money. There was a surprising number of people who told us they order their prescriptions from Mexico or Canada.
Are there programs for people who are not old enough to retire but are out of a job because of this pandemic to help them stay healthy?
If you have been laid off, it is easy to be depressed about your finances and your overall situation. The best thing you can do is to keep your mind and body active in this time by getting outside for a walk, getting tasks done around the house, and staying connected with your friends and family through technology.
Are there benefit plans that we can take advantage of now to prepare for unexpected expanses that come out of a pandemic situation?
I would recommend that all seniors who still have a few years to go before retirement, consult with their financial advisor to prepare a plan of attack as we come out of this pandemic. Build a plan to get your nest-egg built back up and most importantly, if you weren’t building an emergency from before this, begin building one as soon as you begin to recover. Learn about HSA plans and see if there is an opportunity to open one through your employer so that you can grow a medical savings account for the future. This pandemic is a sad but true reminder to all of us that unexpected event DO happen, and we need to be prepared for them.
Right now, the government is working hard to get anyone put out of work an unemployment check as well as a stimulus check. We are encouraging all seniors to know how much to expect in their stimulus check and to know how they should be receiving theirs and then keeping an eye out for it. Also, stay vigilant and do not fall for scams. Criminals take advantage of seniors at a time like this where the majority of Americans needs this check and are more financially vulnerable. Never give your Medicare number or SS number to any caller claiming to be from the federal government. We have a free Facebook group that seniors can join to ask questions about Medicare and learn about Social Security as well. Being part of a group like this will also help you stay vigilant because you can share information with our other boomers and seniors in the group.