Solve your health care challenges

Premiums soaring? Your insurer denied your claim? Retiree benefits got slashed? Try these strategies to cure what ails you when it comes to getting and paying for medical care.

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5. Your retiree health plan benefits were slashed
Your retiree health plan benefits were slashed
Retiree health benefits are a dying breed: Only 28% of companies now offer them to employees younger than 65, and 21% to those who are older. If you still have coverage, get ready to pay more: Employers are shifting more costs onto retirees, starting benefits at a later age, or requiring longer tenure to qualify.

The solution: If your former employer cuts your benefits entirely and you're too young for Medicare, you'll need to buy an individual policy. If you're healthy now, you'll save a lot on premiums by going with a high-deductible plan with a health savings account, which allows you to save up to $6,150 a year ($7,150 if you're 55 or older) for future health care costs. But your bills could quickly add up if you get sick.

Already 65 or older? You'll have 63 days to buy supplemental Medigap and Part D drug coverage to replace your company plan.

Rather than an outright elimination of benefits, though, you're more likely to be hit with higher premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. Even with these higher costs, you'll probably still end up paying less for care by sticking with your retiree plan. That's because company plans typically limit how much you can pay out of pocket and don't have coverage gaps like Medicare's doughnut hole for drugs.

NEXT: You've got a pre-existing condition
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Last updated May 14 2010: 9:25 AM ET
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