Retiring close to age 65? M How to stay covered until Medicare kicks in

This is a question I get at least once a month.  “I am retiring this year, at age 64, and need health insurance until Medicare kicks in.  What should I do?”

The asnwer can be both simple, and complicated.  The first choice for most peope would be taking COBRA through their old job for the 18 months, to get them to age 65.  However, more and more, the premium is so high as to make it unaffordable.

Another alternative is purchasing individual insurance.  Depending on the state you are in, this can be kind of reasonable (NY) or outrageously high (most other states).  Short Term medical is a possibility, and easier to qualify for, but it doesn’t cover any pre-existing medical conditions in most cases.

Another similar issue is “I go on Medicare next month, but my spouse is 2 years younger than I am.  What do I do?” – and the answers are all the same.  In the end, there is no simple answer, every case has its own facts, and you need to review it with a professional.