Boomers: Save on Medical Expenses

As Boomer turn age 60 they are facing larger medical expenses from health insurance premium increases and doctor visits. Here is how one Baby Boomer became proactive to manage his medical costs.

How We Saved on Medical Expenses

When I turned age 60 I was jolted with a large health insurance premium increase. My wife also pointed out how much we were paying for other medical expenses. This prompted us to review what we were spending and the objective was to see what we could do to reduce medical costs now that we are semi-retired. We have been able to substantially save on our medical costs, mostly by being smarter about it and being proactive. Here’s how we did it.

1. Shop for a Better Deal on Health Insurance Since we were self employed and paying our own premiums the raises at age 60 were really hurting. We both shopped around and I was able to change from Blue Cross Blue Shield to Aetna Insurance and saved $261 per month for similar or better coverage and deductible. My new policy has dental coverage for two preventive visits per year saving me another $225. My wife has a preexisting condition and wasn’t able to get a better rate. Annual Saving: $3357

2. Call Your Insurance Company for Coverage Before Making Doctor Visits You can’t trust your doctor’s office to do this for you. They don’t know your coverage and don’t know how many visits you have had or how much you have spend towards your deductible. Calling your insurance company yourself is a major way to save on medical costs. Call the 800 number on your insurance card and tell them of your planned visit to a medical office and the purpose. Find out if it will be covered and do they have any suggestions. A lot of times it just depends on when, where and to whom you go for medical treatment. It can make all the difference in how much comes out of your pocket. Always call and take notes of who you talked to and what they said. Do not rely solely on coverage books or on-line information. Make the call.

For example for my annual routine eye exam I used to visit a board-certified ophthalmologist, a specialist in medical and surgical eye problems and the cost was $110 per visit and my insurance was not covering any of it since I did not have vision care. I called my insurance company to see what was covered and they said they covered eye exams by an optometrist, an eye care professional, like those at LensCrafters, so I changed and get the same comprehensive eye exam. Annual Saving $110

3. Time Visits to Your Policy Coverage Your policy may have a limit number of covered doctor visits per year. Also keep in mind if you have met your annual deductible. Don’t delay needed medical treatment but scheduling routine visits to your advantage really helps keep your cost down.

My wife need an overnight sleep study for Apnea so the doctor’s office scheduled it last December saying they had checked and it would be a covered expense as a doctor visit. But she had a 6 visit coverage limit on her policy which they didn’t know about. My wife knew she had used here 6 visits and rescheduled the sleep study to January. It was covered. Annual Saving $1800

4. Change to an In Network Doctor Call your insurance company to find a doctor in their network. This can make a huge difference in coverage. My story is that for my annual physical I tried to look up a doctor near me that was in my insurance company’s network. There were so many plans like mine that I couldn’t tell for sure what plan I had. I selected a doctor and called their office to verify they were in the network but they said they couldn’t advise tell either. I went ahead but it was not covered and I paid $400. This year I called my insurance company for a in network doctor. Come to find out that there was a doctor in the same office I went to last year that was in my network. Annual Saving $400

So the above steps resulted in a saving to us of $5673 in one year. I feel we received just as good or better medical service and saved lots of money. We will continue to be proactive in managing our medical expenses. I know there are lots more ways to save on medical expenses to be learned. We know no one will manage our medical expenses better than us. It is really not that hard to do, it is just recognizing you can make a difference by asking questions and participating in this part of your life which for so long was not as significant factor as it is now.

Robert Fowler is President of Retirement Media Inc

Originally posted 2011-12-23 14:18:17.

Baby Boomers Retiring to Tastiest Towns

Retiring to one of the 10 tastiest towns in the South according to Southern Living Magazine.

Today I was in Decatur Georgia having a blueberry muffin and a Coke at a cafe when I noticed a sign on the table.  It said Cast Your Vote for The South’s Tastiest Town Awards.

The thing I noticed right away as I scanned the names of the 10 towns on Tastiest Town list was I know these towns from somewhere.  I think almost all were on our best places to retire lists.  I haven’t noticed good food being on the list of factors in deciding where to retire, but maybe it should be.

1. Birmingham –  I remember there was a famous hot dog hole in the wall place in downtown Birmingham everyone raved about.  According to SL: Frank Stitt changed the South’s culinary landscape. His restaurants Highland’s Bar and Grill, Chez Fon Fon, and Bottega showed us that in the right hands, a humble staple like grits can become a tourist destination.  I know they made downtown walkable and closed off some streets.  Must have some good eats somewhere.  More on Alabama 55 Plus Retirement Communities.

2. Louisville KY – I remember some of the best ribs I ever had was in Louisville. Per SL:  In Louisville, saddle up for amazing food and art (often in the same spot), a shrine to artisan hams (heaven is a single barrel bourbon and seat at a “ham bar”), perfect mint juleps, and buzzy hoods like Frankfort, NuLu, and Bardstown Road. I know one thing, they sure know how to party during Derby week.  Kentucky 55 Plus Retirement Communities.

3. Houston – Well this is a city not a town.  Per SL: We heart its incredibly diverse ethnic scene (from extraordinary interior Mexican to some of the best Vietnamese in the country) and the red-hot Lower Westheimer hood (including El Real, a Tex-Mex shrine from star chef Brian Caswell and Robb Walsh, and Chris Shepherd’s new Underbelly).   I know Texas escaped the housing downturn like the rest of the country is suffering through.  People seem to like living in Texas and keep moving there.   More on Houston Retirement Living.

4. Raleigh NC –   I just passed through the Raleigh area and haven’t spend any time there since my Dad used to go to the furniture mart there (I think they make furniture in China these days).  Per SL: it’s the kind of place where local pork sausage from the farmers’ market finds its way into queso in a sports bar. With an obsessively local food scene (courtesy of Carrboro Farmers’ Market) and forward-thinking chefs like Ashley Christensen (her three new concepts Chuck’s Burgers, Fox Liquor Bar, and Beasley’s Chicken & Honey preserve their culinary heritage with a point of view and a sense of humor), Raleigh is rich in homegrown ingredients–and attitude–with a proud sense of place.  NC has many small towns great for retirement and is one the hottest retirement spots.  Best small towns in North Carolina

5. Decatur GA –  As I said it does not good places to eat. Just outside of Atlanta, Decatur is an ever-emerging mecca for young foodies who adore pristine farmers’ market produce (from Love is Love Farm and DeKalb Farmers Market, among others). It has transportation (Marta rail station) and neat older homes.  It was named one of the best places to live. More on retirement communities in Georgia

6. Charleston SC – This one I have experienced and the seafood is excellent.  Per SL: There is no shame in planning a vacation around shrimp and grits—an increasing number of culinary tourists who flock to this red-hot restaurant town do just that. Charleston needs no introduction, but we’ll give a Lowcountry shout-out to smart, passionate chefs like Sean Brock at Husk (a forthcoming cookbook and ongoing dedication to heirloom American ingredients ensure he’ll continue to influence food trends), Robert Stehling at Hominy Grill, and Mike Lata at FIG. Chaleston has history, the beach and a good climate. South Carolina retirement communities.

7.  Lafayette Louisiana – This is the one place on the list that I may have not visited.  According to SL: A new batch of homegrown chefs is delving deep into the region’s robust culinary roots, with stellar takes on Acadiana classics.

8. New Orleans –  I remember going to the Court of Two Sisters on my honeymoon 38 years ago and have been back many times.  There is nothing better than New Orleans food.   According to SL:  There are several (hot sauce-soaked) reasons why New Orleans is one of the most important and seductive food cities in the country. Consider, among other things, its iced Abita and oyster meccas (Acme, Felix’s, Casamento’s, and Bourbon House, for example), time-honored landmarks that should be on anyone’s bucket list (Friday lunch at Galatoire’s, brandy milk brunch at Commander’s Palace), life-changing muffulettas and po’boys, a posse of power chefs like Donald Link, John Besh, and John Harris, and dangerously delicious cocktails (from historic sazerac bars like Napoleon House to new spots like Bouligny Tavern) make it an essential, irresistible food destination.   Well they sold us didn’t they!  As far as retiring to New Orleans, I am personally not so sure about, but I would love to visit again.

9.  Charlottesville Virginia – We visited Charlottesville and just loved it!  It sure is a nice and interesting place to live and I bet Charlottesville is a great place to retire.   The downtown area has the streets closed off and there are many nice restaurants there.   Per SL: Blame it on Thomas Jefferson, the original heirloom farmer—this wine-soaked region still celebrates farm-to-table goodness in everything from seriously authentic Spanish tapas at Mas Tapas to backyard spirits (pass the artisan moonshine). Take Harrison Keevil, the chef/co-owner at Brookville Restaurant, who cooked at nationally acclaimed Fat Duck in England and sources more than 90% of his menu from within 100 miles of his restaurant. 

10.  Baltimore – I guess Maryland is in the South but that always surprises me.  I attended a convention there for few days right downtown and loved the crab cakes and the Italian food in Little Italy.  Per SL: Baltimore’s fierce sense of place mixed with iconic dishes like Cast Iron Crab Cakes at Thames Street Oyster House earns our adoration as a must-visit food town.  I agree on the food.  More on Baltimore retirement living.

Anyways it does make sense to check out the food scene before picking a town to retire to. Bon appétit!

Originally posted 2012-01-14 22:52:25.

Haircut Deals for Baby Boomers

mens-haircut-deal

About every 6 weeks or so I get a hair cut. I have not been happy with where I have gotten my hair cut for some time and I have been paying $25. for my hair cut. I decided to shop around for a new place while doing some price shopping.

Here is how I did it and what I found. I googled the zip code I live in and the zip code beside me for locations (stylists, barber shops, hair cuts, salons). I used “hair and the zip code” Within my zip code and the one beside me I found men’s hair cut prices from $12 to $37. I called every convenient location to find out if they cut men’s hair and get a feel for the environment and their attitude. I told them I was shopping for a new provider and asked the prices for a man’s hair cut. Most reduced the price if I did not want a shampoo and most were very hungry for business. Some shops had a set price, no deviation and it applied to all stylists.

Interestingly I found other shops said the stylists set their own prices and the newer stylists tended to be the lower priced. I believe but was not told that these shops rent the stylist the chairs daily and the stylist can charge what they want. I noticed when I phoned and told the business that I was shopping for a new place to go regularly they were persuasive about trying to convince me regarding their quality and more aggressive on the prices than the places where I did not mention that I was changing. They thought this was a 1 shot deal.

The $12. hair cut location was indeed convenient and I thought the lady really wanted my business. She was a little too pushy, is the only stylist at her location and I did not want to get hooked up with a place I have to rely on a single person.

I want a good quality hair cut at a fair price but it has to be a good quality hair cut or I am not interested. I opted for the $20 hair cut based on the phone conversation. If I determine I am going back, I will share my expectations and find out from the stylist what she expects so we can have a good meeting of the minds. She is a Baby Boomer, I know that much. The 29 years she has cutting hair was very influential in my decision to choose her. I have gotten several opinions of those closest to me about my hair cut and every one agrees that it is a good one. No complaints.

Retirement Homes for Boomers

Originally posted 2011-12-23 14:09:25.

Make Retirement an Adventure in Western Australia

A popular retirement destination, especially for seniors with plenty of savings and a healthy income, is Australia. For seniors seeking comfortable, active, and interesting retirement villages Perth WA is a great place to begin your search.

Australia retirement villagesAs more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, we are seeing an increased interest in “adventurous” retirement destinations. This generation of retirees is more intent on taking advantage of their free time and enhancing their lifestyles than they are on slowing down. As a general rule, baby boomers in their 50s and 60s are active, adventurous, and keen on getting every drop of living out of their golden years.

No longer does retirement mean moving straight to Florida to play canasta by the poolside in your fuzzy slippers, eat discount senior buffets for supper every day at 4 p.m., and go to bed by 8. There has been a shift in the concept of retirement in the past decade or so, and many seniors are looking to foreign countries and exotic locales for an exciting “lifestyle change” upon their retirement. A popular destination, especially for seniors with plenty of savings and a healthy income, is Australia. For seniors seeking comfortable, active, and interesting retirement villages Perth WA is a great place to begin your search.

A move to Australia (many call it “the Sea Change”) can be an invigorating lifestyle change for older adults. The country’s 3 million square miles only hosts a population of 21 million, ensuring that the beauty of the natural world dominates the landscape once outside of large metropolitan areas. The variety of Australian wildlife is astounding, with many species found wild only in Australia (though you may have seen them in zoos in the States!). In addition, international studies have found that average life expectancy is high in Australia, and stress levels are far lower than most areas in the US and Europe.

If you are one of the adventurous new baby boomer retirees looking to move overseas, consider Australia’s many high-end retirement villages, found in scores of locations across the continent. Australia is blessed with a wide range of desirable retirement locations. You may enjoy the warm, Eden-like atmosphere of Toowoomba or the friendly, small-town feel of Noosa in Queensland. If you enjoy a more historical environment, Echuca on the Murray River boasts a history as a paddle steamer town, and Queenscliff is an historical port at the entrance of Port Phillip Bay. And if you’re looking for a wide variety of different Western Australian retirement villages Perth WA may have just what you are looking for.

The retirement communities in Western Australia range from densely populated neighborhoods with small, apartment-like homes to sprawling suburban communities with lots of wide open spaces and expansive family homes. Among its retirement villages Perth WA even offers eco-friendly communities for those baby boomers who want to live green. St Ives Mandurah, for example, is an idyllic eco-friendly retirement village – surrounded on three sides by water – that blends in beautifully with its surrounding environment. The homes in St. Ives Mandurah boast such elements as natural stone, iron and local timbers, harmonizing beautifully with their natural surroundings. The community has a nature trail and boardwalk around a peaceful lagoon and along the riverside as well

The city of Perth – Western Australia’s state capital – is located on the splendid Swan River, and is surrounded by spectacular outback landscapes, beautiful vineyards, and warm, uncrowded Indian Ocean beaches. The region surrounding Perth boasts beautiful coastal beaches, a Mediterranean climate (with over 3,000 hours of sun per year), and a laid back lifestyle. Western Australia itself offers seniors adventure and outdoor recreation galore, such as water sports on its many beaches, hiking in the lush green forest of Kings Park, visits to wineries, tours exploring the caves near Margaret river, and snorkeling along Ningaloo Reef

One note: Retirement to Australia may be an exciting idea, but before you get too invested in the notion, be sure to check out the Australian Retirement Visa requirements. Unless they have family members who are Australian citizens, Americans hoping to move to Australia in their retirement must have large sums of cash or assets that they will be transferring to Australian accounts, and be ready to purchase properties or make investments of $500,000 and up. Check out the retirement visa requirements here.

So, if you are a recent retiree, and want to forgo the staid, predictable lifestyle of retirement to the American Sunbelt, consider making the Sea Change. You can find an adventurous lifestyle in a beautiful and exciting retirement village in the “Land Down Under.”

Originally posted 2013-07-27 12:50:48.

Baby Boomer’s Housing Trends

We have observed these 10 Baby Boomer housing trends. Boomers are not doing as some expected in regards to their housing. Links in the items listed go to more details.

1. Many Baby Boomers love seasonal homes in resort locations. Living in a seasonal home for two to six months then returning to their primary home. Some seasonal homes are owned but many are short term rentals. Most seasonal homes are in warmer locations. Most are in resort locations including active adult communities.

2. One level living is a must because of potential mobility issues and safety concerns. This style is referred to as “ranch style” homes. Continue reading “Baby Boomer’s Housing Trends”

Originally posted 2018-10-01 13:41:51.

Boomers, Do You Remember Your First Kiss?

Do You Remember Your First Kiss?

Some folks received flowers and candy today.  Others enjoyed a romantic dinner or a movie. For Valentine’s Day, I had a flash back to the past.  Yes, a flash back!  Now we are talking a long way back.

There was a hand made Valentine”s holder pinned to the wall.  It was stuffed with Valentines.  As a matter of fact, it had more in it than all the other holders on the wall.  Slowly, I removed the holder from the wall.  I laid it gently on the table.  Then I reached for the largest valentine in the folder.  The envelope was bright red.  The words, I love you were printed in bold on the front next to my name.  With my small hands shaking, I slowly took the card out of the envelope, as others watched in anticipation.

I opened the card.  It was signed, “Love, Johnnie.”  My heart beat fast as I read the words.  I looked up and it happened right there.  Yes it did!  Johnnie puckered up and laid the big one on my lips.  It was wet and messy.  The others started to giggle.  Yep, that was my first kiss.  The memory is as strong as if it just happened yesterday.  It was kinder garden class.  The giggles echoed from my friends.  Johnnie’s two front teeth were missing and there he was with a dumb GRIN  on his face.  What a visual!  I didn’t know whether to crawl under the class room table or cry.

Now I can look back and laugh about the silliness of being a child.  There has been a few years since that episode happened.  Many kisses have passed these baby boomer lips.  That kiss was special, even though it did not feel like it at the time,because it was the FIRST.  Now I am waiting for my last kiss.   If his teeth are missing so be it.  I say, “No matter what age you are pucker up and enjoy the moment!”  These baby boomer lips are not ready to retire.  🙂

In all sincerity, I hope each of you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.  Do you remember your first kiss?

Originally posted 2012-02-14 22:14:59.