61 Year Old Man Goes Back To College For Student Health Insurance

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Senior Freshman Rick Leslie Saves Over $23,000 On Annual Healthcare Premiums

It’s been three years now and I’ve saved almost $70,000 on my medical expenses. That money has gone into my retirement portfolio.

When the economic meltdown struck in the fall of 2008, 61-year old Rick Leslie lost more than his business. He lost his group health insurance. Making matters worse, Leslie had pre-existing conditions—Type II diabetes, a knee replacement and high cholesterol—making it virtually impossible for him to find any new coverage.

The obvious solution for Leslie was to find a job that provided health insurance. But work was hard to come by during the recession, leaving him vulnerable to financial catastrophe. That’s when Leslie came up with a unique health care solution. He went back to college to get student health insurance. Where did he get the idea?

“My 20 year old son was in college and had student health insurance and I thought why not me?”

So Leslie, who already owned a B.A from the University of Illinois, did his homework and discovered that if he took two classes at Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Education each trimester, he could qualify for student health insurance. But Northwestern is not the only college to offer affordable student health insurance to adults. According to the GAO, about 60 percent of all colleges currently offer health plans. Even with tuition costs of $1,000 to $2,000 per class, the savings can be huge. In Leslie’s case his annual premiums dropped from $26,400 a year down to $2,200—recently saving himself over $23,000 this past calendar school year that just ended August 31st

“It’s been three years now and I’ve saved almost $70,000 on my medical expenses. That money has gone into my retirement portfolio,” says Leslie.

But Leslie says student health insurance may not work for everyone who has health insurance premium woes. It works best for retirees who need a temporary stopgap measure before they become Medicare eligible. Leslie, who goes on Medicare in December, says his college experience has opened up doors for him just like his first bachelor’s degree did 41 years ago. His humanities class in storytelling led him to a new onstage career as a professional storyteller. And he is currently co-authoring a book on communications with his Public Speaking professor. As for Leslie’s school experience, he likens himself to Chevy Chase’s character Pierce in the hit TV series "Community."

“The kids took me under their wings a bit. I was invited to campus parties, one fraternity asked me to pledge, and a cute coed asked me if I wanted to study with her.”

Leslie’s wife declined comment.

For more information, contact:

Rick Leslie
Email: richardleslie(at)comcast(dot)net
Phone: 312-965-0005

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