Congratulations – you retired, and you are not yet age 65, so not eligible for Medicare.  In the past this has been a big challenge from the health insurance perspective – how do you get affordable coverage until Medicare kicks in?  Or perhaps your spouse has retired, and is over age 65 (covered by Medicare) but you are younger- say age 61.  How do you get affordable coverage until Medicare kicks in for you?

This has been a big problem in the past.  Some mix of COBRA rights, purchasing a catastrophic high-deductible plan, and prayer.  Beginning January 1, however, “ObamaCare” will bring new options.  Heres a  (very) simple and short primer…

  • IF your income is below 133% of the federal poverty level (you are retired, remember? under @ $15,282) you will be covered by an expanded Medicaid Program.
  • IF you are between 133% and 400% (@ $45,960) you will have access to a number of health plans, with standardized benefits, in “the marketplace” also called the Exchange.  You will receive a subsidy from the federal government which will keep your premiums at about 9.5% of your gross income.
  • IF you earn more than 400% then you will be able to go to the Exchange, or go outside, and purchase any available product (at full price, no subsidy).

Once you turn 65 you will have access to Medicare and at that time will purchase a supplemental product, or a Medciare Advantge Plan (PPO).  But thats another article.