Health Insurance Premiums: Average Annual Cost $19,000 Family, $6,000 Individual

healthThe Wall Street Journal recently published (paywall?) a chart showing how the average cost of employer-provided health coverage for a family has changed from 1999-2017. The total average annual cost was $18,764 for a family and $6,690 for an individual in 2017. The data source is an annual poll of employers performed by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation along with the Health Research & Educational Trust, a nonprofit affiliated with the American Hospital Association.

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In very rough terms: a single adult is ~$500 per month ($6,000 per year), and a family is about $20,000 a year. These numbers agree overall with the preliminary health insurance quotes that I have gotten for my own family.

In addition to the rising premiums, the average annual deductible is now over $1,200 for a single worker.

The implications for an prospective early retirees are obvious. How are you going to cover this huge expense? Here’s a quick brainstorm of options. Spoiler alert: There is no easy fix.

  1. Use an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan and get a subsidy if your income is low enough to qualify. Do a lot of reading, then hope it doesn’t change?
  2. Plan ahead with a job that offers health insurance benefits in early retirement (don’t have to be a certain age). You’ll probably have to hunker down with the same employer for a number of years.
  3. Save enough money (or create enough income) to pay for health insurance premiums. Try a managed-care system like Kaiser for a low-cost HMO plan.
  4. Find a part-time job that you both enjoy and offers health benefits.
  5. Run a part-time side business that earns enough profit to cover health insurance costs. Look for potential group discounts or tax breaks that are available as a business instead of a consumer.
  6. Now and later, look for a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) and fund a Health Savings Account (HSA) due to the tax advantages.
  7. Join a direct primary care arrangement or health care sharing ministry that is exempt from ACA.
  8. Extend your current employer coverage for up to 18 months through COBRA (check cost).
  9. Move to a foreign country with reasonable and transparent cash pricing.

Am I missing anything? Right now, we have #4. My family’s future plan is a mix of #1, 3, and 5. However, #5 could push us over the income limits for #1.

Museum Day: Free Tickets Nationwide On Saturday, September 23, 2017

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This upcoming Saturday! Museum Day Live! is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Ticket for free. This is in following the spirit of Smithsonian Museums, which offer free admission every day.

Registration is now open for Saturday, September 23, 2017. Find participating museums here. Request your ticket here. One ticket per valid email address. Each ticket provides general admission for ticketholder plus one guest. You must pick the specific museum during the ticket request process, and then download a PDF to print out as your ticket.

There are some cool museums around us that now cost $25 for adults and $10 for children, so this can be a significant savings depending on the size of your family. (Two adults can register, and that would allow four total people. Kids can also get their own tickets in case you bring along more people.)

Don’t forget to add the event to your calendar! I’ve probably forgotten about this half the times that I’ve registered.

Also see: Bank of America’s Museums on Us Program.

Robinhood: Free Share of Stock for New Users – Estimated Value

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Robinhood App Review: $0 Stock Trades, Easy-to-Use Interface

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Bank of America Premium Rewards Card Review – 50,000 Bonus Points

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University of Berkshire Hathaway: Notes From Annual Shareholders Meeting (Book Review)

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If you are a Buffett & Munger follower, you should be intrigued by University of Berkshire Hathaway: 30 Years of Lessons Learned from Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger at the Annual Shareholders Meeting by Daniel Pecaut and Corey Wrenn. Anyone can … [Read the rest]

5% Cash Back Credit Cards: Rotating Categories Update 2017

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Activation for 4th Quarter 2017 is live. The credit cards below offer a hefty 5% cash back on categories that rotate each quarter. It takes a little extra attention, but I also rack up over a hundred dollars in additional rewards per year without … [Read the rest]

Free 100 Air Canada Aeroplan Bonus Miles

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New offer. Even small amounts of bonus miles can be handy as Air Canada requires activity every 12 months to prevent Aeroplan miles expiration. Give some feedback on a short video at get 100 bonus Aeroplan miles. 100 bonus miles will be … [Read the rest]

Amazon Prints Promotional Code: 50 Free 4×6 Photo Prints + Free Shipping

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New code for 50 free prints. Amazon Prints is offering another round of 50 free 4x6 photo prints, with free shipping for Prime members. Use promotional code FREE50PRINTS by September 17, 2017 11:59pm PT. This current code should work again even … [Read the rest]

Surprise! A Few Reasons for Hope and Optimism

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The amount of negative information that surrounds us can sometimes feel overwhelming. To be sure, there is plenty to be concerned about. However, here are some reasons to be hopeful. You probably won't find them on the front page of any major … [Read the rest]

Big List of Ways To Protect Your Credit: Free Credit Monitoring, Credit Locks, Fraud Alerts, and Credit Freezes

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As you probably know, Equifax was hacked and literally half of all Americans could be affected. It seems like every media outlet has a "what you should do now" article, but I've also gotten some e-mails asking for my personal take (for which I'm … [Read the rest]

How Much International Stocks In Your Portfolio? 2017 Outlook

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Here are some updated thoughts on holding stocks based outside the US in your portfolio. There is no "ideal" amount of international stocks that experts agree upon. You have numbers ranging from 0% (US only) to 50% (market-cap weighting). For … [Read the rest]