A roll of the dice. Americans who truly can’t afford health insurance often go without necessary care. More than 70 percent of adults with gaps in their health insurance coverage reported not getting needed healthcare because of the cost, up from just over half in 2001, according to the Commonwealth Fund. If you decide to seek care without insurance coverage, you’ll be stuck paying the entire bill yourself. When Kodak announced in August that it would no longer pay for dental coverage or life insurance for retirees, Frank Allen, 72, a retired Kodak mechanical engineer and manager in Rochester, N.Y., decided to go without dental insurance. “The full cost of the dental plan is more expensive than I want to pay,” says Allen. Now he will pay the full cost of two dental cleanings a year and any other dental costs that occur completely out of pocket. “The loss of the dental and the life insurance was completely unexpected,” says Allen.
Keep up the good work. Continuing to get preventive care and staying healthy may be the best way to keep health costs in check, before and after qualifying for Medicare. Says Johnson: “Living a healthy lifestyle, watching what one eats, and staying active could at least delay the onset of the expenses.”