Retirees May Not Have all the Health Insurance Coverage They Think They Have

Individual or Family Health
Group Health Coverage

Retirees Health Insurance

As the first wave of "baby Boomers" reaches retirement age, they may begin to realize that the Golden Years are not as Golden as they might think, especially when it comes to continuing affordable medical coverage.

In recent years companies have tried many cost cutting measures when it has comes to reducing the cost of employee health benefits, and one of the first casualties has been a reduction in, or elimination entirely of continuing health insurance for retirees. The number of companies with 200 or more employees that continue to offer retirees no cost or low cost health insurance has fallen by half since 1989. So if you think that you have employee based health insurance that will continue upon your retirement, it is best that you check with your employer or Human Resources department and be 100% clear on what benefits you do and do not have. The worse time to find out about limitations of coverage is when you are lying on a stretcher.

This situation has made the idea of retirement before age 65 when Medicare eligibility kicks in an impossible dream for many. But there are options available.

First of all if you lose you health benefits before the age of 65 due to a change in company policy, or a redefinition of your terms of employment, check and see what your rights are, they do vary from state to state. The website of your States Department of Insurance is the first place to look and see what entitlements you may have to continue your health insurance.

If you are not entitled to, or cannot afford to continue your current health benefits, and do need to look into alternatives for low cost medical insurance until age 65, if your spouse is still employed see about joining his or her policy. You may also be eligible to low cost group insurance through another group you already belong to other than your employers group, such as a lodge, trade group or fraternal organization.

If none of those options exist your best bet for a low cost health insurance solution until you reach 65 may be short term or Gap Insurance, if retirement age is only 6 months to a year away. If short term insurance will not work for you, then select a plan with a high deductible and marry it with a Health Savings Account, this way you will be protect against financial ruin if a serious illness should occur, and the HSA can help to pay more routine medical needs until Medicare kicks in.

And finally, one of the best things you can do to enjoy a longer and less expensive retirement, is to make lifestyle changes that will get you healthier and reduce your healthcare costs. Quit smoking, lose weight, attend health and wellness classes, start an exercise program or do yoga - any and all of these things will lower you healthcare bill, and may just lengthen you life.