News

Will Obamacare Affect My Retiree Health Insurance Benefits?

By | September 8, 2015

The Affordable Care Act has changed the way that retiring Americans receive healthcare. Now, retirees must rely on a new public marketplace for the health coverage they once got from former employers.

Amid all the debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA; also known as Obamacare), one of the major criticisms still loudly voiced is that the law will impose a serious financial strain on employers, making it harder than ever for them to offer their workers sufficient benefits.

Is there any validity to these claims? And if so, what does that mean for Americans approaching retirement today?

Obamacare Brings Change in the Wind

TIME describes the decisions made by both Time Warner and IBM in the wake of the ACA’s to readjust the group benefits that they previously offered retirees. The companies have stopped providing benefits to the employers leaving the workforce themselves and started directing them to a Medicare-related healthcare exchange, agreeing to cover the cost of their new plan.

The trend towards canceling retiree group benefits is real, but it’s not as disastrous as it sounds. It’s also been a long time coming — according to the TIME article, companies had been looking for ways to reduce their spending on healthcare long before the ACA was passed into law.

Will Obamacare Affect My Retirement?

The short, less complicated answer is “no.” However you feel about Obamacare, the law is not likely to affect your retirement benefits for the worse. For Reuters, Mark Miller makes the case that it could actually offer retirees more options.

Miller points out that the old framework had millions of Americans purposely delaying their retirement. Because corporate retiree benefits were so sparing, employees clung to their jobs for longer than they wanted, waiting until they turned 65 and became eligible for Medicare.

What’s more, insurance companies once had the ability to turn down customers — millions of workers over the age of 50 were denied care from their employer’s provider because of their pre-existing health conditions.

The ACA guarantees that you can obtain health coverage from public marketplaces outside of your employer’s group offerings, meaning you could still secure coverage if your retirement benefits were canceled by your employer.

Still, the legislation doesn’t necessarily make that coverage more affordable or easier to obtain than an employee’s existing insurance, leaving many still feeling insecure about their post-employment futures.

How Do I Find the Best Coverage?

Before your company adjusts or outright eliminates its group retirement benefits, you can take take some preemptive measures to protect yourself. Forbes offers several handy tips to manage household income in order to remain eligible for certain levels of coverage, as well as a decent summary of what the ACA’s passage means for early retirees.

But your most reliable resource is SingleCare. Because many employers are taking the money they would have spent on benefits and putting it into salaries, you’ll be able to save more by creating your own plan from scratch, and that means using SingleCare’s pay-as-you-go system to get the care you need and nothing more or less.

No longer do retirees have to limit themselves to just what the new exchange offers — they can now use SingleCare to find the procedures they need at the prices they can afford.

The current state of the American healthcare system has paved an uncertain road ahead for many retiring Americans. But with SingleCare behind them, they no longer need to go it alone.

(Main image credit: BU Interactive News/flickr)