Health Insurance and Living in a Small Town

A good friend of mine is fighting a battle with throat cancer. HD (I’m used to calling him Dieter) and his wife Una moved to a small Oregon town in 2002 after they retired. The other day Dieter sent me an email telling me the bad news about his health. He also gave me some really useful information about their experiences with medical insurance. HD and Una have been roll models for what I want to do in retirement. I regularly follow their web site.  I really value and appreciate their advice. I asked and he said I could include a portion of his email here.

"Hello Marion,

I just read you latest blog, and I had to write to you with, what I
think is, a very important issue in your retirement.  And that is
health care.

Unfortunately right now I am battling throat cancer,  am in chemo and
radiation treatment. It was diagnosed early February, had surgery in
Portland at OHSU (the university hospital there) and now they are
mopping up after it with the other stuff.  Something I have to go
through. Wish me luck!

But the reason I write to you is the fact that health care in a small
town is a *BIG* issue (at least for us it is).  Depending on your
insurance type and willingness to pay a lot, it may be very difficult
to find doctors and facilities that work with your insurance company.
Una is fighting a brave and big battle with our insurance (their name
is xxxxx and they work through a Dr. network called xxxxxx).
They have strange ideas as to what is reasonable for a patient (i.e.,
going almost 2 hours one way to receive daily radiation, luckily we
talked them out of that nonsense and are having it in town).  Also
finding doctors in a small town may a problem, i.e., there is no ENT
doctor taking our insurance list. – Also, when we moved from California
to Oregon, we learned that the company we had then, did NOT operate in
Oregon, so insurance is not necessarily transferable to another state.
Just a few things to let you know. 

Best Wishes to your upcoming move and the prep work for it.
Take care,

HD (aka Dieter) and Una"

HD asked me to xxx out the insurance company name since they have to keep working with them. His email really struck a chord with me. I have read advice like this before but I usually skip right over it because I figure we are too young to have to worry about this kind of thing. But of course that is ridiculous. Anyone can need medical care at any age and when you need it it is too late to move somewhere else.

Duke and I currently have Kaiser HMO  for our insurance. We buy it through Intuit Cobra.We have been happy with Kaiser but It looks like it is not available available in Nevada. Since we will be right over the border form California we were thinking we would keep it at least until the Cobra runs out. But given Dieter’s email I am going to do some more research. When the Cobra runs out we will probably get a high deductible insurance with a Health Savings Account.  I’ll keep you posted.

Author: marionvermazen

I am a traveler, hiker, avid reader, Sun alumnus, computer geek, Spanish and French language student, knitter and genealogist. I am retired after working for almost 30 years in the Computer Industry. I live in Reno, Nevada with my husband Duke.

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