Dear Savvy Senior,
I will be retiring in a few months and need to get some health insurance for my wife and me until we can enroll in Medicare. What are my options?
— About to Retire
There are several places early retirees can find health insurance coverage before Medicare kicks in, but the best option for you and your wife will depend on your income level and your health care needs. Here’s where to look.
If your yearly income falls below the 400 percent poverty level after you retire, the Affordable Care Act (ACA aka Obamacare) marketplace is probably your best option for getting health coverage because of the premium subsidies they offer, which will reduce the amount you’ll have to pay for a policy.
ACA health insurance is major medical insurance that covers essential health benefits with no annual or lifetime coverage maximums. And they can’t charge you more or deny you coverage because of a pre-existing health condition.
To qualify for the subsidies, your household’s modified adjusted gross income for 2019 must be under $48,560 for an individual, or $65,840 for a couple.
If your income is just above these thresholds, you should talk to a tax advisor about perhaps making a larger IRA contribution or strategically timing retirement account withdrawals to help you qualify. To see how various levels of income might affect your premiums and subsidies, see the subsidy calculator on the Kaiser Family Foundation website at KFF.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator.
To shop for marketplace plans in your state, visit HealthCare.gov or call their toll-free helpline at 800-318-2596.
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