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Case Study: Health Planning

This 61-year-old woman has four years until she can go on Medicare. Should she? What else does she need?

Irma Almirall-Padamsee

— Photo: Dave Lauridsen/Illustration by Jon Valk

En español | Irma Almirall-Padamsee, 61, the retired director of multicultural affairs at the Samuel Johnson School of Graduate Management at Cornell University, spends 40 hours a month volunteering with cancer patients. She talks with new patients and identifies those who need buddies. She's in charge of a boutique that offers cancer patients free bras, wigs and prostheses. Puerto Rican by ancestry and fluent in Spanish, Almirall-Padamsee also translates a health column for one of the doctors.

See also: Are You Prepared for Your Future?

Those experiences have made her careful about her own health. She takes care of her asthma, high blood pressure and cholesterol through medications and diet. She sees her doctors regularly. She even keeps in her purse a list of the prescriptions that she takes.

Six years ago, Almirall-Padamsee and her husband bought long-term care insurance because their two grown children live far away and the couple doesn't want to live in a nursing home. The policy gives them some comfort, but she worries she is not seeing the whole post-65 picture.

She wonders: Will she transition from Cornell's insurance to Medicare? Will she need supplemental insurance? How does their long-term care insurance fit into the scheme? And what other types of insurance should they have in place?

You may also like: Reforming Social Security.

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