Tag Archives: Featured Articles

Health Insurance for Seasonal Workers – Bridge Policies

As always, let me disclaim that I am NOT a health insurance agent or expert.  I am just sharing what I have learned and recommending you consult a professional.  Without a doubt, I do recommend taking the time to really educate yourself about your health insurance options if you are buying your policy independently.

I HAD heard of bridge policies – designed to act as a gap between loss of coverage for whatever reason and the next opportunity to enroll in “Obamacare.”   Going forward, I’ll use the official abbreviation of ACA for the Affordable Care Act.  These policies are NON-ACA compliant.

That means they HAVE exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

It also means they are substantially….SUBSTANTIALLY less expensive.

Here is the kicker, and what I did NOT know.   You can buy bridge policies as an ongoing method of insurance. 

As long as you do NOT have one of the pre-existing conditions that would exclude you, such as a heart condition, cancer, etc, you are allowed to just purchase these types of policies, instead of ACA compliant ones.  There are a couple “gotchas” that I want you to be aware of:

1)    Talk to an Independent Health Insurance Agent

The “Navigators” that are part of the ACA process cannot talk to you or really give you guidance about health insurance in general.  They can only talk about differences between their ACA-compliant policies.  Ask your insurance agent if bridge policies would be an option for you.

2)     Timing Matters

Bridge policies are for a specific period of time, up to 12 months.   If you develop an exclusionary condition while covered, you will not be able to get another bridge policy when it ends.   You can only sign up for ACA during open-enrollment (unless you have an exemption like losing a job).  So, it might be wise to time your policy end date during open-enrollment.  Ask your insurance agent.

3)    There IS a penalty

There IS a tax penalty for choosing this option.   Talk to your accountant.   For my family, the combined cost of the penalty AND the bridge policy was still considerably less than the premium for an ACA compliant policy.

4)    Stay Healthy

Without a doubt, the key to using these policies is being healthy.   If you already have an exclusionary condition, then most likely they won’t work for you.   But if you can stay healthy, bridge policies may be an affordable alternative.

Talk to an Insurance professional.

I recently read that one thirty-minute walk per day can make an incredible difference in your overall health.  See you on the trail.

 

Recovering MBA. Writer. Photographer. Scanner. Blissful Learner. Airplane and Travel Geek/Aircraft Dispatcher. Instructor. Teenager Wrangler. Certification Collector. Semi-retiree in training.

Is Semi-Retirement for You?

Would you love to only work eight to nine months a year, and have three to four months a year to travel, take up a hobby, create art, or write that novel?

This  quasi-retirement option holds appeal for many older workers who want to spend more time enjoying life and less time toiling at the office. But, between being heavily hit with job loss since the 2008 recession, or being sandwiched between young children and elderly parents, many people over fifty cannot afford to stop working. And some do not want to stop – they just want to work less.

Either way, the same two questions arise. The first is, “How to afford it?”  Second, “How  to get the time off?”

There are many ways to approach the affordability of this work lifestyle, and many specialists and resources available for gathering knowledge and ideas for money management, debt-reduction, and development of residual income. The bottom line is finding a way to live for a year from income generated in eight or nine months.

But it is harder to find good advice and ideas on the second part of the equation. That is, how to get more time off than weekends and two weeks vacation a year?

For starters, if you are not interested in changing professions or your current position, explore the availability of taking an unpaid Leave of Absence for two to three months a year.  (And a future article detailing the things you need to consider with this choice.)

An additional option if you want to stay in your current line of work is to independent contract your services back to your former employer. Ideally they pay you more, but often will not include any benefits. Nonetheless, you contract for a specific task for a specific period of time that works for you. The money might be a wash, but you will have gained control of your time.

If you are open to doing different work, there are four industries that routinely utilize employees for part-year positions:  Teaching, Tourism, Treatment, and Taxes.

Starting a small business is another choice, particularly if you can tie it to one of the four industries mentioned above. For example if you live in a tourist area and are an avid photographer, you could start a business leading photography tours that only operates during those months. Offer tutoring services during the school year, or personal fitness and weight management right after the holidays. The list really does go on.

Does taking a few months off every year appeal to you? If so, the next question is how do you get there from where you are now?

Copyright©2014

Recovering MBA. Writer. Photographer. Scanner. Blissful Learner. Airplane and Travel Geek/Aircraft Dispatcher. Instructor. Teenager Wrangler. Certification Collector. Semi-retiree in training.

Differentiating Semi-Retired and Part-Time

Have you considered decreasing your work hours, or the number of days you work each week as you get closer to retirement?  Or, do you think you will not ever be able to “retire,” but you still want enough time to do some traveling or pursue a hobby?

These two options are vastly different, however.  Be sure you take the time to decide which one would be best for you.

Part-TIME

Working part-time is generally considered to be any number of hours less than thirty per week.    Keep in mind though, that thirty hours can still take up a great deal of your time.   For example, someone working six hours a day/five days a week adds up to thirty hours.  That is just 8am – 3pm instead of 8am – 5pm.  Add in a commute, and it really is not that much time away from work.

If you can find longer hours for fewer days, it would probably be more appealing.

Part-time work becoming more and more common for several reasons though, and not all of them good ones.   While it can be a great option for students, or for people who just need a little extra income or something to do, it can be very frustrating for people who want to work full-time.

The biggest looming concern is health insurance, as the Affordable Care Act allows employers to opt-out of providing coverage to those who work part-time.   If you have coverage elsewhere, then this might be a good option for you to have more days per week available to pursue hobbies or outside interests.

Part-YEAR

Most often, this is referred to as “seasonal” employment.”  It definitely is the more appealing choice if you want longer blocks of time off.  A great number of the employment opportunities are the ones commonly associated with the summer or winter seasons, such as summer camp counselors, or winter ski instructors.

Of course, seasons vary depending on where the business is geographically too.  The traditional North American Summer season is June through August, while it is December – February in the southern hemisphere.  And many specialized workers such as ski instructors take advantage of this by working in different parts of the world depending on the time of year.

In general, the variety of positions available where working part of the year is built into the job description seem to fall into four main categories:  Teaching, Tourism and Travel, Taxation, and Treatment.  In another article, I will describe the myriad opportunities available in these different industries.

Copyright©2014

Recovering MBA. Writer. Photographer. Scanner. Blissful Learner. Airplane and Travel Geek/Aircraft Dispatcher. Instructor. Teenager Wrangler. Certification Collector. Semi-retiree in training.