The average retirement age in America is 62. You might be amazed to find that people aren’t waiting until 65, but you really shouldn’t be. It really shouldn’t be a shock – people’s health starts to falter, and partial social security benefits have kicked in.
As you can see, the number of seniors starting to retire really starts to skyrocket at the age of 62.
Possibly the biggest hinderance in more people not retiring earlier – and what leads to the next biggest jump, at 65 – is the loss of health benefits. Part of why people start retiring is because of poor health, so it is hard to do that if you know you have a lot of medical expenses that won’t be covered by insurance.
If you’re wanting to retire with the rest of your peers and rely on having health coverage, you may want to investigate the following options.
Getting Medicare Coverage Early
While most people must wait until they are 65 to enroll in Medicare, there are instances where you can get Medicare insurance coverage early. Most people don’t qualify, but before enrolling for private health insurance (and paying out of pocket), you should see if you meet any of the requirements on this list.
Before age 65, you are eligible for free Medicare coverage if you:
- Have been entitled to Social Security disability benefits for 24 months; or
- Receive a disability pension from the railroad retirement board and meet certain conditions; or
- Receive Social Security disability benefits because you have Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis); or
- Worked long enough in a government job where Medicare taxes were paid and you meet the requirements of the Social Security disability program; or
- Are the child or widow(er) age 50 or older, including a divorced widow(er), of someone who has worked long enough in a government job where Medicare taxes were paid and you meet the requirements of the Social Security disability program.
- Have permanent kidney failure and you receive maintenance dialysis or a kidney transplant and:
- You are eligible for or receive monthly benefits under Social Security or the railroad retirement system; or
- You have worked long enough in a Medicare-covered government job; or
- You are the child or spouse (including a divorced spouse) of a worker (living or deceased) who has worked long enough under Social Security or in a Medicare-covered government job.
See If You Qualify for Medicaid
Medicaid provides free or low-cost health coverage to millions of Americans, including some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Did you see that… the elderly? This could mean you!
Additionally, some states have expanded their Medicaid programs to cover all people below certain income levels; therefore, you should apply.
The best thing about Medicaid – unlike Medicare and private health insurance – is that you can apply for this type of insurance any time of year – Medicaid does not have Open Enrollment Periods.
See if you qualify for Medicaid coverage here: https://www.healthcare.gov/lower-costs/
Enroll in Private Health Insurance
Private health insurance doesn’t have to break the bank. Based on your current health needs, you probably don’t need a frills plan. Start by doing a simple comparison of the basics. i.e. Do you need an HMO or PPO plan? Based on your normal expenses, what deductible do you need?
As you start your research, you’ll quickly learn which factors will most impact the type of plan you’ll need. Based on typical diseases and ailments that generally afflict those near retirement age, you’ll want to make sure you have a plan that has decent prescription coverage.
Move to a Country with Universal Health Care
This is partially a joke; however, if you’re looking to pick up and move to another country anyway…this could be a bonus. Here is a good resource that has the basics on what you’d want to know about Universal Health Care.
If any of these countries sound delightful, you might consider packing your bag for retirement:
Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom
Retire Early or Stick It Out?
At the end of the day you may just need to weigh your options. Why it sounds grand to retire early, spend some time with the grandkids, become a martial arts guru, or just relax on your front porch, sometimes we have to face our financial responsibilities.
When you get ready to make that decision, on whether you can/want to retire early, you may have to ask yourself, “Can I retire now and find a health insurance solution that makes sense…or do I need to stay in the workforce for three more years and wait for Medicare?”