You have worked hard all of your life, and you’ve finally secured yourself to a position where you can stop working, and you can do so before the age of retirement. Congratulations! That’s certainly a wonderful achievement. However, if you do decide to retire early, there are a number of considerations that you are going to have to make; one of them being health insurance.
When you retire, your employer-sponsored health insurance may no longer be an option. If you’ve retired before the age of 65, you are not yet eligible for Medicare. So, what do you do? Given the rising cost of health care in the United States, going without insurance isn’t an option. But if you no longer receive your employer-sponsored benefits and you aren’t eligible for Medicare, you may be left in the lurch. Without insurance, you could end up having to foot the hefty bills of routine medical exams, diagnostic testing, surgical procedures, medications, and a host of other health care needs yourself.
Fortunately, there are alternative options to Medicare and your work benefits. Read on to find out how you can ensure that your medical, prescription drugs, hospital stays, and other healthcare needs are covered
Health Insurance for Early Retirees
For individuals who retire before the age of 65 and no longer have access to their job-based health benefits, purchasing a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace is an option. Under normal circumstances, you would have to wait until the annual open enrollment period to purchase a plan through the Marketplace; however, because loss of employment is considered a life-changing event, those who retire early are eligible for the Special Enrollment Period, which means that you can enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace and purchase a plan at any time.
When you enroll in the Marketplace, you will need to fill out an application. The information provided on this application will help you determine if you are eligible for a health insurance plan that offers premium tax credits, or one that offers lower costs for out-of-pocket expenses. The option that you will qualify for depends on your income and the number of people who are living in your home. Additionally, you’ll also learn if you are eligible for a free or lower cost coverage via the Medicaid program in your local area.
The Marketplace offers a number of different health insurance plans. It’s important that you select an option that will meet your needs the best. You’ll want to consider things like out-of-pocket costs, include deductibles and co-pays, as well as whether you will be required to see in-network doctors. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that the plan you select offers the coverage for the health care services that you require the most. For example, if you have diabetes, you’ll want to make sure that your plan provides the most comprehensive coverage possible for your diabetic care, doctors’ visits, medical supplies, and medications.
Other Options for Early Retirees
If you do not wish to purchase a health insurance plan through the Marketplace and if you are not eligible for coverage via Medicaid, then there is another option available to you: Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act coverage; better known as COBRA.
Under COBRA, employers are required to provide health care coverage that matches the benefits that an employee had up until they left their position with the company. While your coverage may stay the same under COBRA, it is rare that an employer will subsidize the premiums that are associated with this type of health insurance plan, which could end up being equal to the full premium that is paid for by the employer to the insurance company; in other words, you could end up paying a lot for your coverage out of your own pocket. Additionally, COBRA benefits are only available for 18 months, which means that it is a short-term solution for your health care coverage needs. Furthermore, you will be required to look for new benefits once you are more than a year and ½ from turning the age of 65.
Generally, COBRA is the least popular option for anyone, including early retirees; however, if you retire close to the age of 65 and you do not want to purchase private insurance through the Marketplace, it may be a viable solution.
Summing It Up
There are definite benefits to retiring early; however, there are a lot of considerations that need to be made. If your health insurance will cease when you retire, it’s crucial that you find other coverage options To find out more about the options that are available to you and for assistance with making the best choice for your needs, speak to a reliable agent that specializes in health insurance.