I recently wrote an article about retirement, and how you can, even if you do not think so, and one of the recurrent comments and messages I received was all about healthcare costs.
I wanted to address some of the concerns and offer my own observations about this issue, as well as offer my opinion about several of the health Insurance companies out there that we might benefit from.
First, if you are eligible for Medicare, it is now the "enrollment" period for Medicare Advantage Plans (HMOs) and while those who have these plans often complain about their network providers and referral issues, they are very HOT business sectors of virtually all major health insurance companies! Which of course flies in the face of what we THOUGHT would happen to them.
As a result, the majors are tripping over themselves to take business share away from their competitors.
United Health Group (NYSE:UNH), the only AARP endorsed plan, has seen its share price increase steadily increase since 2009, yet has not come close to its all time high of nearly 60.00/share ... and has dipped recently.
Wellcare Health Plans (NYSE:WCG) has run up from 6.64 back in March of 2009, up to 52.73, but has backed off to around 41.00 a share, and is not even close to its all time high of appx. 116.00/shr.
Humana (NYSE:HUM) is selling at 73.56, off its high of appx. 84.00/shr, but is still in an uptrend.
Wellpoint (WLP) has a historic high of appx 89.00/shr and has a similar uptrend chart but it too has backed off to 64.06/shr.
There are others of course, but I like UNH, WCG, and WLP for significant capital appreciation now, and long into the future.
UNH and WLP offer small dividends as well.
How does this help in retirement? Well simply by investing in these companies a retiree can defray some of the increases in costs with the capital appreciation, and the offered dividends, but also, the Medicare Advantage Plans have gotten extremely competitive, are offering virtually ZERO premium plans, and have extensive drug formularies, which are included in the plans themselves. You do not require a separate Medicare Drug Plan (part D), and it's included at no extra charge.
Often, the generic drugs are the lowest co-pays, and many times ZERO out of pocket until the doughnut hole is reached (even that dollar amount is increasing for the better).
In my mind, there are many, many seniors and/or disabled, that should consider these plans to reduce their monthly premiums, for basically the same services. Aside from the HMO rules of network providers and referral systems, which by the way has come a long way from the earlier days when you could not find your doctors and it was one huge hassle. It has changed for the better according to the information from the insurance companies' own websites, where you can find doctors, your drugs, and all the services the plans offer.
For those who retire early, obviously you should take into consideration that you will not qualify for Medicare until age 65, and your plans should hopefully reflect those expenditures.
It is NOT all gloom and doom folks. There are opportunities in many forms.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.