Some early Boomers over 50 may have a double whammy coming. Not only might your job be "right-sized" away along with what remains of your shrinking 401(k), but it could prove quite difficult to get health insurance once your Cobra runs out.
"You basically can’t count on insurance remaining even mildly affordable in individual markets,” says Karen Pollitz, research professor at the Health Policy Institute in an article at SmartMoney.com.This goes double if you are older.
My hub found this out in spades when we became a 2-freelancer household far sooner than planned. Self-employment and consulting are frequent fall backs for those can't replace their old job or prefer to strike out on their own, but if they are too young for Medicare, they fall into the "Med-i-Gap". That means you have to go to the individual markets for health insurance, where few carriers want to talk to the self-employed -- or anyone over 50.
Even if you get coverage through a trade or professional group, which we did for awhile, the insurance company might can the plan if its risk-to-income profile becomes too adverse. That happened to the group my husband was in, even though it covered thousands of engineering pros nationwide. The good news (if you can call it good) was that the carrier "let" us pay them $1800 per month to keep some coverage active while we looked for something new.
While checking the options, I found that the "Risk Pools" offered by states may only offer limited benefits with limited access to a limited pool of physicians, if you can get on the rolls at all. After weeks of looking, we found a good (albeit high deductible) plan at AARP on decent terms, and have had no complaints in the two years since. If this"Med-i-gap" issue impacts you, you might check them out too. Then let us all hope that Obama listens to the rising tide of citizens -- and physicians -- who say the time for a single payer national health plan is now.
To make it both hard to work and hard to stay healthy is too big a double whammy at any age.