Planning Ahead

CURE, Fall 2007, Volume 6, Issue 5

Ways survivors can cope with medical cost

Rick Kilmer, 60, of Austin, Texas, has figured out some ways survivors can cope with medical costs. Planning ahead has been key to his financial success through his bouts with cancer, he says.

Last year, Kilmer was diagnosed with follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A certified financial planner and certified public accountant, Kilmer was able to tap into $30,000 saved in his health savings account (HSA) to cover expenses before coverage kicked in from his employer-provided health insurance plan with a $5,000 deductible.

He also had purchased a supplemental health policy offered through the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants for its members that will provide another $1 million beyond what his health insurer covers.

After a time of remission, Kilmer says, his cancer has returned recently. A tip from a friend helped him find a clinical trial through EmergingMed.com at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he goes weekly for treatment covered by the trial.

Kilmer says he also decided after his initial bout with cancer to better protect his retirement assets. He found an annuity with the investment company ING that not only provides an income stream for him and his wife in retirement if he survives, but that also has a generous death benefit, based on the highest quarterly value the annuity achieves, if he does not survive. This provides protection against any loss from the investment. “In the worst case, you know you’ll get your principal back,” he says.

Kilmer adds that such an investment isn’t for someone trying to cover current expenses, but rather for an asset you’re not going to immediately need or that will be needed to provide for your heirs.