Two Early Retirement Concerns that Should Scare You

Two early retirement concerns make me question if retiring at my target age will be practical considering the estimated costs.The concept of early retirement has gained in popularity and legitimacy over the past decade fueled by knowledge sharing over the internet and healthy market returns. Though I’m 12 years away from my retirement goal and have plenty of time to prepare, I still harbor early retirement concerns for the future retired me.

Most people considering early retirement share my primary concern. The other concern is more specific to our family because of a commitment we’ve made to our kids.

However, I probably worry less about being able to afford retirement than most people. I’ve thought about retirement planning every day since my first paycheck after traveling and being broke living with my parents.

For the most part, I feel like I have our retirement plan under control. Our retirement accounts are on track and growing. I can estimate how much money I’ll need to cover spending.

But two significant costs stand out as potential deal-breakers.   

They are healthcare costs and college costs for our kids.

The historical cost trajectory of both of these is steep, threatening to be much higher in the future. Estimating future costs is imprecise.

I’m also concerned about the timing of my retirement. My retirement date is ten years before Medicare eligibility. It’s also the same year my oldest of three children will start his freshman year.

Early Retirement Concern #1: Healthcare Costs

My former employer switched healthcare plans and providers several times over the 14 years I worked there. As a single person, it didn’t matter. 

Once I had a family that relied on me for healthcare, it became a major annoyance. 

Unfortunately, working for a small company of only 30 people, nobody else was in a similar situation supporting a family. The plan options weren’t great, and there was no sympathetic ear to listen to my concerns.

We were too small to make health plan improvements without a dramatic cost increase for the company. 

I was grateful to have decent health insurance. But the annual out-of-pocket costs were high, and several billing issues took months to resolve for various unexplained reasons. 


When I lost my previous job in October 2017, our family utilized COBRA to cover our health insurance needs. The law requires that employers allow former employees to keep their health insurance at the same cost for 18 months after leaving the company.

The law was passed to avoid gaps in health insurance coverage.

We were able to keep our insurance plan for the entirety of my four-month unemployment period. The monthly premium for our family of five was $1,752.54.

Using COBRA was stressful. I barely trusted that we had insurance during that period. Every month, we blindly mailed a check to a P.O. box. There was no confirmation other than calling to see if our plan was still valid.

COBRA did cover us when we needed it. But the law could use an update to make it easier for people to navigate employment transitions.

Healthcare uncertainty is a terrible feeling. 

Better Healthcare Security Today

Now that I work for a more reputable company, our insurance plan is a higher-tier PPO and subsidized quite a bit more. The total cost is around $2,200 per month, but I only pay about $420.

This insurance plan feels very secure. Not only because it’s a better plan and cheaper for me, but thousands of other employees and their families rely on it and have high expectations.

If the company tries to reduce benefits or increase the cost to employees, there will be hell to pay. And it won’t be me calling HR to complain. Someone else will.

Large companies can negotiate better terms than a small business. 

However, if I want to leave my career early after reaching financial independence, insurance through COBRA would cost me $26,400 per year. That takes a big chunk out of my early retirement cash flow. And it’s still COBRA and only lasts 18 months.

Lower-tier PPOs and high-deductible plans with HSAs are indeed options. But I want premium health care for my family.

Retiring earlier may mean settling for less. 

There is one intriguing healthcare benefit provided by my company. If I work there until age 55 and retire, I’m eligible to keep the company healthcare plan. I’d pay the full price for the insurance coverage, but I could keep it until Medicare kicks in at age 65.

If I work until age 58 and retire, the company will subsidize 50% of the insurance costs until age 65. That may be tempting when I turn 55 if it’s still a benefit.

Working just three more years would get me a $13,200 (in today’s dollars) annual benefit for the next seven years. 

When I’m 55, my youngest child will only be 15. So I’ll need to pay for a family plan for at least the next seven years.

I fear that retirement will seem impractical due to this family necessity.

Early Retirement Concern #2: College Costs

My wife and I have committed to paying for the undergraduate college educations of our three kids. We’re (hopefully) saving enough to cover in-state tuition and will discourage private or out-of-state school.

With the expensive price tag of a traditional college education, parents must consider the return on investment (ROI) and explain it to their kids. 

Think of college like any other investment. Invest your money, receive a return on the investment.

Only with college, the cost varies from school-to-school, yet returns are relatively consistent based on degree earned and the city where you take a job. 

This idea of ROI for college will be the continuous lecture that annoys my kids in their teenage years. 

The Truth About my Future

I’m reading a book by Ric Edelman called The Truth About Your Future: The Money Guide You Need Now, Later, And Much Later

Edelman runs one of the top financial planning firms in the country. He’s also a best-selling author, radio host, and the most prominent personal finance personality you haven’t heard of yet. 

Much of the book focuses on what he calls exponential technologies. These are the technologies that will drive our economy over the coming decades. 

I picked up the book because I was expecting a prediction that virtual reality and online learning would eventually lower the cost of college.

But that’s not what he predicts. Instead, he says we need to save MORE money for college because our kids will become lifelong learners

Lifelong learners will go to college, start a career, take a sabbatical, change jobs, go back to school, then spend a year backpacking, start a second or third career, etc. This cycle could repeat five or six times in a lifetime, in part, to keep up with changing skill sets needed for technological changes. And life expectancies will increase thanks to medical breakthroughs. 

All this means our kids will need more money for education.

Edelman recommends 529 accounts as the best vehicle to save for college.

His views may not be 100% agreeable or inevitable. But I’ve seen zero evidence anywhere telling me to save less for college. 

Save More for College

We save $300 per month per kid in college 529 investing accounts. Sometimes this feels like a shitload. 

But then I run the numbers alongside historical tuition inflation rates, and it’s scary. Considering this idea of lifelong learning, it may be even worse in the coming decades.

$900 per month today ($10,8000 per year) may not be enough! I’m considering increasing that amount. 

Ideally, the income I can generate as a retiree from my investment income portfolio will be enough to cover my living expenses plus any tuition shortfall. But it’s a very steep climb to get to that point. More likely, I’ll be withdrawing from retirement accounts to cover my spending needs. 

The plan is not to use tax-deferred retirement savings to pay for college. That’s a major retirement no-no. 

Fortunately, I opened 529 accounts they day each child received their Social Security cards. We’ve made progress saving for college so far, but I still fear it won’t be enough. 

Bad Timing

My son will start college the same year I plan to retire. That means I need to save the entire cost of his education before I retire. Plus his two younger sisters!

That’s the goal.

There are other options. I could fail at saving enough money and retire anyway. In that case, each child could take on some student loan debt, work through college, earn scholarships, or go the community college route like many self-sufficient college students already do. 

But that’s not the deal I made with my Dad. When he told me in ninth grade that he would pay for my college education, he asked me to give the same opportunity to my kids. 

My Dad paid his way through college by working in a steel mill during the summer breaks. College was much cheaper back then.

The other more obvious solution to a tuition shortfall is that I work longer or part-time (an option at my company). If everything happens on schedule, my youngest will finish college in 2038. I’ll be 63-years-old. I certainly don’t plan to work that long. But that is about the average age of retirement in the U.S. 

As much as I’m planning to retire at age 55, I’m afraid the logical move will be to keep working when I get there. Continuing to work will make even more sense if I continue to like my job!  

But I set the goal to retire at age 55 back in 2002. It’s hard to imagine I’d give up on that in 2030. 


The convergence of retirement, healthcare costs, and the beginning of our family’s college years in 2030 scare the hell out of me. Perhaps I overthink this stuff and should chill out until 2025. 

Or maybe losing my job has put a healthy fear in the back of my mind. Every day I look for more opportunities to earn more, spend less, and invest the surplus. 

That said, I feel very fortunate to be where we are today. Most Americans are entirely unprepared for retirement. 

We have several plump retirement accounts riding the wave of the 10-year bull market run. Plus our rental property.

I’m maxing out my 403(b) and now receiving a 10% match from my employer (crazy good).

This tax season, it looks like we have enough to max out Mrs. RBD’s spousal IRA (to lower our taxable income) and we can max out my Roth IRA. These optimized retirement saving maneuvers are helping me to feel more optimistic. 

In less than seven years I’ll turn 50. That will put me within five years of my final goal. By that point, I should have better data to determine how practical retiring at age 55 will be. 

Photo via DepositPhotos used under license


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  1. I have some out-of-the-box suggestions here that you probably won’t agree with.Number one: stop running to the doctor and get healthier! I grew up in Europe which, at that time, was not under the thumb of the pharmaceutical industry like the US is (although that has now changed). We also didn’t live on the SAD (Standard American Diet) of processed foods but ate simple, home-cooked food. Our Friday night treat was a cake my dad would bring home and other than that we ate very little sweet stuff. I’ve continued these practices my whole life, and as I got older I’ve also taken care to eat organic and stay away from toxins like those in the myriad vaccinations they try to push on people these days. It’s important to realize that what you put in your mouth/body is the biggest determining factor of your health, much like the gas you put in your car is the main thing that makes it run. Because my husband and I are so healthy and rarely need a doctor (my husband doesn’t even have a primary care provider) we have always taken the health plans with the highest deductible and stashed away the savings as our own personal health fund, so now we don’t need to worry about any gaps in cover due to job changes or early retirement.
    Number two is the college myth: even though the quality of education is continuously being lowered to accommodate the lowest common denominator (look at all the kids coming out of college who can’t spell or know their times tables), the cost is continuously being raised, the job prospects for college graduates are dropping like a stone because of the over-supply and lack of ability and plain common sense of these kids and the main thing they seem to be taught these days is a sense of entitlement, parents STILL seem to think they have to send their kids to college AND pay for it all. Once again, as somewhat of an outsider (although I’ve lived in the US for 20 years) I look at all this in amazement. I think the best thing for kids these days is to learn an actual skill, like plumbing, that they can earn an actual living with. Their fancy college friend may sneer at it, but when your son or daughter has built their own plumbing business and the college friends are barely scraping by waiting tables it will become clear what the right decision was.
    I think the most important thing is to stop being so blinkered, do some independent thinking and stop following the herd. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts!

    1. MJB,
      Thanks for your comments. I consider our family’s health above average. Nobody is overweight. Mrs. RBD is a vegetarian and we rarely have any meat in the house. We buy organic and non-processed foods. We do need snacks for our kids, those are usually processed. Kids need snacks, and they’re picky. Fruit usually works too.

      But the “get healthier” advice only gets you so far. I’m going to wager a guess that you don’t have kids. We’re going through a stage in our lives where are kids are constantly exposed to germs and illness at school. Kids are messy. They stick fingers in their mouths and then play with toys or share snacks. You can tell them not to 100 times and they still do it. You can’t eat healthy to get rid of strep throat or an ear infection! With 5 people in a family, our chances are greater of having some kind of large health expense in the future. Much higher than it was for me as a 30-year-old single person. That doesn’t mean a high-deductible plan wouldn’t work for us. But since I have this premium plan at my fingertips, it’s a no-brainer for now. When we get to retirement age, we can expect to have more health problems than we do today.

      As for college, you make some valid points and a few that I disagree with. Skilled trades are good options for many kids who may not be cut out for college. But it’s not the ‘best option’. The data shows very clearly that the higher the education level, the higher the lifetime earnings. There are always exceptions, of course. As a parent, I don’t feel obligated to pay for their college. I’m choosing to do so, because it was an investment that my parents made in me that has paid off many times over. College costs and benefits may be different in 12 years when my kids are ready to go, but you’ll struggle to convince most people that less education will be better than more.

      1. A trade school is not “less” education. You’re comparing earnings from college degrees to people who stopped at high school graduation and that is inaccurate.

        You’re making the same mistake many others have made, acting like trade school isn’t real school. All the high voltage electricians and instrument techs I work with would vehemently disagree. The contract plumbers and pipefitters and high pressure welders I have to hire would also disagree.

        They all make well into the 6 figures. Trade schools are college for learning real skills.

        1. Thank you for chiming in. I stand corrected and apologized for the short-sighted (blinkered?) comment. It was an inaccurate comparison. Plenty of people with undergrad degrees come out unprepared for the real world while those educated in skilled trades are far more hirable. And they can start building wealth at a younger age with less student debt. However, I’ll still argue that a four-year college degree in a high-demand discipline is better than a trade.

  2. Hi Mr. RBD,
    Regarding Healthcare, check out Liberty Healthshare.
    I’m 6 years away from my 55 retirement goal and starting to explore options just like you. It’s never too early to start thinking about these things. Premiums are low and they are very clear on what is and what is not qualified under the plan. A lot of the negative reviews have to do with a slow response time on reimbursement. However, it seems to me that folks with a sufficient cash flow (like you and I) love this low cost insurance plan. A friend of mine used it while working at a small company. He told me he couldn’t believe that this insurance plan wasn’t gaining more attention. I have it marked on my list of options for 2025(!).
    Basically I’m looking for a low premium, high deductible plan. Furthermore, after living in Europe for several years, it seemed to me that I could fly to Europe, pay cash for a medical treatment, and STILL pay less than the ridiculous medical prices in the USA. In other words, in the case of a PLANNED surgery, it might be cheaper to go overseas than pay my high deductible. Twice while on vacations, I have had family members visit ER’s in Spain and Hungary (a broken foot!!) and the total bills were less than $300. Yes three HUNDRED dollars!!!
    Stay focused on your goal!
    Thanks for your blog…..I appreciate your insight and advice

    1. James,
      I know several money bloggers who use Liberty. I don’t know enough about it to comment, but there are several reviews available online.

      As for medical tourism, I do think this is becoming more common and a good choice for many people. At this stage, I am willing to work longer to afford excellent care in our home country. Hopefully, we’ll see improvements in our healthcare policies and in the coming years so we don’t have to be having this conversation decades from now.

    2. RBD, I do actually have a son (now grown up), and luckily he was also very rarely ill. Still not the same as a family of five, I agree! With respect to college, we’ll see how things pan out in the future. I can’t help thinking the landscape is shifting rather fast …

  3. RBD – Another great article

    In regards to your healthcare concerns and retiring early. I am 53 yrs old and that is my single biggest concern for retiring early. I recently (and unexpectedly) had been diagnosed with a heart issue (genetic defect) that required open heart surgery. I have never used my health insurance before other than “routine maintenance”. Navigating and planning for healthcare in early retirement is concerning.

    In regards to your college tuition concerns. I was able to set aside about $60K for each of my two sons over the course of 18 years. This was not enough to fully fund their college expenses. However, several years prior to this I coached them on the importance of selecting a career path that will lead them to gainful employment, taught them the value of hard work, money management and responsibility. I explained to them how much money was available and that they could spend this money however they wished on their education. Most out of state schools were about $40K per year. Our in state college (your alma mater) was around $20K with room and board. One of the big wins in going to a large state university was there are many companies that recruit from there. Since both of my sons were very motivated (on the hook for their remaining tuition and living expenses) they went to career fairs, hustled and got jobs with large corporations each summer. Instead of making $7 per hour at the local restaurant, they were making $25 per hour at a company that anyone would be proud to have on their resume. This experience helped them secure employment to high paying jobs in September of their senior year in college. I realize you made a promise to your dad to pay it forward. I would bet that if you came up with a similar plan where there is some sharing of the cost burden by the kids, he would approve. My sons have told me many times how much that experience helped them. BTW – they came out of college debt free!

    Best wishes

    1. Dan,
      The idea of expecting the kids to pay for some college is something I think about and I’m not ruling out. Skin in the game. Since I was not paying for myself, I do believe I was less motivated in my studies. I should add that I paid for my own living expenses. I worked every summer to save money for expenses not related to tuition or housing. I also had a job during all eight semesters. I worked in a campus photography lab 10-20 hours a week. I also waxed skis from my dorm room my freshman year.

      For comparison, as an out-of-state student in 1998 at the same school as your sons, tuition plus housing was about $16,000 per year. At a similar in-state school, it would have been about $10,000. I regret my decision to go out-of-state. I was given too much leeway and was too stubborn for my own good.

  4. I did not retire particularly early, but much earlier than most of my peers who tend to work as long as possible because they just can’t walk away from what they, and I used to, think of as having won the corporate game. That did allow us to get all three kids through their four year degrees. We had spelled out the rules long before that. We would pick up the tab for the four year degree but all the graduate degrees were on them and we weren’t funding any expensive out of state or private colleges. We’d pay the amount of State U and if they wanted to go elsewhere then they could fund the difference however they managed. We also expected them to be great students in high school and college. We were fortunate in that they were all extremely intelligent and thanks to their mom developed superior study skills versus their peers. At the end of the day they all earned free rides including room and board to the state university and all found good jobs.

    You mentioned lecturing and advising your kids on affordable schools and practical majors. I agree with that and we managed two engineers, one medical doctor and one college educator who have never had issues with unemployment. However while you cannot pick your child’s major you absolutely can control how you spend your money on their education. You don’t need to convince them to pick an affordable school, you can just say that’s what you’ll pay, and if they want to take that money to Harvard and borrow the rest that’s up to them.

  5. Great thoughts on healthcare and retirement Mr. RBD. Speaking from my personal experience, my family has had great success using Samaritan Ministries for over two years now. It’s a healthcare sharing program similar to Liberty HealthShare mentioned in the comment by James above. When I left my full time job to become self-employed I too was faced with the prospect of losing my company provided health insurance, and the cost of continuing my family’s coverage thru COBRA was going to be over $1,200 a month. That was a hard pill to swallow. I began researching options and we settled on Samaritan Ministries and began making monthly payments of $495/month instead.

    Last year my wife gave birth to our third child and all the hospital and doctor bills were paid in full thru Samaritan. Of course Samaritan Ministries is NOT insurance, it is a healthcare sharing ministry, so part of my responsibility as a member was letting the service providers know that I do not have insurance and as such I am in reality a cash-pay customer, and it was this experience that really brought home to me how the current healthcare system (ie., the complex interconnected healthcare provider and healthcare insurer web) has really clouded and obscured our ability to understand what we are paying for and exactly how much it costs. With the birth of my previous two children (and while still covered by my previous insurance provided by my former employer) I simply handed over my insurance card to healthcare providers, paid my deductible and absolutely never once gave a second thought to how much money healthcare providers were charging me and whether it was a fair price. Sad to say but I really didn’t care because I knew it was off of my hands and it was the insurer’s responsibility now.

    However, when I was billed for the birth of our third child I was able to negotiate significant discounts with both the doctor and the hospital, to the tune of reducing the doctor’s bill by 20% and the hospital’s bill by 75%!!
    I was beyond floored shocked at the dollar amount the providers were willing to reduce their prices simply because I was cash paying customer. And every bit of my negotiated bills were paid thru Samaritan Ministries. Granted, negotiating the bills did require more effort on my part than simply handing over my insurance card and forgetting about it, and I have to admit that I initially found the prospect of having those conversations a little unnerving. But I found that if I was open, honest and direct with the service providers it was actually very easy to have those “I don’t have insurance” conversations. So just know that there are other options available that cut out a lot of the middleman costs that come thru the standard American health insurance route.

    As far as college education goes, I’m still researching that one myself. Be sure to let us know if you stumble across any unique or outside-of-the-box ideas!

  6. Thank you for the article. Since moving to the United States from Germany in 2007, and getting married to an American Citizen, then having two small children, we had a few unplanned visits to the ER and the onset of a chronic condition. We exercise, have never been overweight and eat organic homemade food rich in green leafy vegetables! I cannot stress the importance of health insurance high enough.

    Even a high deductible plan can get expensive. We are employed and covered by a major corporation with top benefits, and yet I am shocked by how many procedures and medications are NOT covered. Prices seem to be determined by some “cowboy, let’s just throw a number at the wall and see what sticks system”, and insurers will try their best not to pay with phrases like ” you did not get pre-approval”, or what you did was “medically unnecessary”. I have a bunch of concrete examples too long to go into here.

    I have lived in Germany, Japan, Singapore, France, Italy and even China. Whilst all their systems vary, none are as expensive as the US’s. Make sure you read the fine print of your policy, and do not assume that whatever policy is around now, will be in 20 years. Currently, insurers cannot deny you for a pre-existing condition. However, laws keep changing. Still, according to CNBC, the No 1 cause of bankruptcy filings in the US are due to medical debt. Medical costs can detonate even the best laid FIRE plans. Anyone can get cancer, even people with a healthy lifestyle, even children. Anyone can get into an accident. This is not to scare you, but to prepare you. So I feel you wrote a fantastic article about a topic that needs to be put into anyone’s FIRE calc math.

    As to college, yes, I think funding a kids in state college up to 80 or 90% is a good goal. Young ones as they are, they will be able to work, you however must make sure you have a buffer for unexpected medical costs or care in old age. Excellent point. Keep calculating!

  7. I’m living your first concern. I’m 9 months into my COBRA, and not sure what I’m going to do when it expires. $2000+ per month for a lower tier plan is certainly a possibility.

    One warning about your retiree health benefits – they’re subject to change before you get there. My employer used to pay insurance for retirees, but discontinued it 3 years before I retired. Companies only have to offer competitive benefits, and will likely look to reduce those that are “more favorable” than market.

    1. Good advice, Fritz. Yeah, I’m not counting it being there. But if it is in the future, it may be a good option.

  8. I’m glad as a Canadian I don’t have to worry too much about health care. Yes, we need to figure out extended health care like dental, physio, massage, etc, but we are covered for basic health care. US health care is something I don’t quite understand. 🙂

    Post-secondary education cost is scary, especially when you consider inflation. But Canadian universities are typically cheaper than US ones so hopefully we’re OK there. My parents paid for my university and I’m grateful for that. I’m hoping that we can do the same for our kids. But I realized that they can always work part time, get a scholarship, or bursaries to fund their post-secondary education.

  9. RBD
    Health care and college expenses have certainly changed a lot, over the years. In 1967 I could take all the classes I wanted, for a term, for $109.

    Schools do compete for good students, so they will offer discounts. Also, the junior college option is great if you kids have their eye on a very competitive university. Often they are difficult to get into as freshman, but students can transfer into them, more easily. Saves money for a year or two also.
    Also, check out CLEP exams. Between A.P. classes and CLEP exams our son started college as a sophomore.
    Multiply that by three and you are talking real money.

    Health care is hugely expensive if you have to pay full premiums for 10 years before Medicare. Might be easier to live in a country with national health care, for a while.

    Finally, investing to pay for retirement. Remember, it is not what you make that counts. It is what you keep.
    We are 10 years into an expansion and getting closer to the next recession. If stocks fall 50% how much will you lose. Changing allocation could save a lot of money, in the long run. Most of the financial news wants people to just keep the same allocation. I don’t agree with that.

    I enjoy your blog regularly.
    Best of luck,


    1. Dennis… good point about CLEP exams. That’s incredible that your son started as a sophomore. Nice work, kid!

  10. I’m a lot more concern about health care than our son’s college education. He can always get a loan if he really needs to. But we only have one kid. It’d be a different story with 3. Good luck..
    Health care is another story. I have no idea how it is going to play out. I guess we could go live in other countries with affordable health care until we qualify for medicare. That’ll be our fallback option.

  11. I’ve run across a couple ways to earn transferable college credits, which you and your children might want to consider.

    FEMA offers online disaster preparedness courses for civilians and professionals. Last time I checked, you could earn up to 3 college credits from Frederick Community College in Maryland after finishing certain courses online and paying a fee to the college. The fee was something like $70.

    Another option: the website Last time I checked, you paid them a monthly fee of around $200, during which time you could complete a course and earn credits from a variety of pretty good schools.

    Finally, I discovered that Excelsior (in NY state) would award me 18 credit hours towards a health care admin degree, because I’m a pharmacy technician certified by PTCB. Excelsior gives credits for other health care licenses, too.

    At any rate, there are plenty of options these days for kids to pick up at least a semester’s worth of transferable credits, even before they graduate high school.

  12. Most Americans and people all over the world are indeed unprepared for retirement. They don’t realize what that means exactly. Most just rely on their pensions which is very scary. You seem to be making great project in all the right areas and I’m sure that if you keep thinking of new opportunities to earn more, spend less and invest, you’ll be more than okay.

    It’s not often that I hear of people really liking their job so if you do like it, then you’ll probably want to stick around even after you’re 55. If you take care of your health there’s no reason why you can’t stick around 5-8 more years.

  13. I’ve found out recently that health insurance will be the golden anchor keeping me at my job, at least part time. My original plan was to semi retire at 55 years old, because at 24 hours a week I would still get excellent benefits at work, paying even less that you are paying for your family of 5 at $420 a month.
    Currently working FT I am getting family coverage for a family of 4 at about $130 a month and that is a basic PPO plan where I just have copays for Dr’s and Rx’s.
    Unfortunately my company doesn’t offer any retire health benefits, not even to pay the group rate. That is why I might have to do the PT gig till I am 18 months from medicare 🙁
    What really put it in perspective is the fact that my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of this year, had a double mastectomy in February and has just started chemotherapy and will follow with radiation.
    So far the insurance has been billed over $220k for the procedures and that doesn’t include another $80k minimum for the chemo and radiation. Plus there will be follow up bills including when the temporary breast implants are removed and the permanent ones put in.
    Granted with the contracted rate the insurance is paying probably less than 50% of some of the bills but still it scares the crap out of me and now she will have the cancer word associated with her forever, first as having cancer and then as a cancer survivor.

    Don’t take your health for granted. It is typically one of the cheapest things to keep up on.