Snow Birds: Healthcare
BOSTON (CBS) – If you’ve reached the magic age of Medicare, which is 65, you shouldn’t have any problems with doctors and health care facilities accepting your health insurance wherever you are in the U.S. Do check your Medigap policy to see what they’ll cover for out of state emergencies.
It’s the younger retiree that really needs to do some planning. If you have retired early and to save money got the least expensive HMO you could find; it just might not cover routine procedures if you are out of state, an emergency probably yes, but routine probably no. Review your health insurance carefully before heading south to stay for an extended time.
What about your prescriptions? Can you get a three-month supply? Can you use a pharmacy where you are staying? With the major drugstore chains it’s easy for you are on a central database. Mail order pharmacies also are helpful.
While you are in the planning mode consider establishing relationships with health care providers in both states. There are always going to be emergencies in our lives and as we age they seem to increase. Have a doctor you can call on in an emergency, heading to the ER works well only on TV but in real life you may want a bit more personal care and follow up.
And sometimes for simple things like changing your medication it’s convenient to have someone local so you don’t need to get on an airplane to increase your blood pressure meds.
Ditto with your dentist, you should have one in both places. Get your teeth cleaned and checked every six months once in the south and once in the north. You don’t want to be flying home to get your crown replaced.
And part of your health care planning is to be sure you have taken the time to implement and sign a Health Care Directive for each state you plan to spend time. If you head to Florida for a month in the sun having done a Massachusetts Health Care Proxy is fine. You can download a Massachusetts proxy form from the Mass Medical Society’s website.
But if you plan to spend 6 months in Florida on a regular basis be sure you get the Floridian equivalent which is a Living Will and within that document you choose someone to be your proxy, your designated health care surrogate. This document allows you to name someone to act on your behalf and make medical decisions for you if you are not able to.