When I Retire, Can I Keep the Health Plan I Have Now?

There’s a lot of uncertainty that comes with retiring. As more and more people choose to work longer, seniors are left with a lot of questions about health insurance after retirement. As of 2018, 63% of retirees retired between the ages of 57 and 66. However, what happens to your health insurance?

One of the many questions seniors have entering their golden years is whether you can keep the health plan you have now when you retire. While very few companies today offer retiree benefits, there’s still a lot to know about health insurance when you retire. In this guide, we’ll answer this question once and for all so you can make the best plans for your needs. 

Can I Keep My Health Benefits?

While, in the past, many companies offered retiree benefits like pensions, this isn’t the norm today. However, a select few companies as well as the private sector offer health benefits for retirees. If you’re in one of these fields, you’re certainly allowed and encouraged to keep those benefits after you retire. 

If you have retiree coverage through your employer but you’d still like to explore other options, you’re free to browse the Healthcare marketplace for a new plan. However, if you voluntarily drop your coverage, you’ll no longer qualify for a special enrollment period so you’ll need to wait for open enrollment.

When am I Eligible for Medicare?

Medicare is a federally funded program for retirees 65 and older. While you’re free to keep your employee-sponsored coverage if you retire after age 65, this program is designed for seniors who need affordable coverage. 

Under Medicare, you have two options:

  • Original Medicare - Original Medicare includes Parts A, B, and D. This is through the government, and it covers hospital care, doctor visits, and prescription drug coverage. There will still be gaps in coverage, and you’ll be limited in the network of doctors you can use. 

  • Medicare Advantage - Medicare Advantage is actually another term for Medicare Part C. With Medicare Advantage, you purchase a healthcare plan through a private insurance company, and you have more flexibility in cost, coverage, and providers. Compare Medicare Advantage plans today to see if there’s one that’s right for you.  

Medicare is the most cost-effective option if you’re 65 and older. You can enroll in Medicare during your enrollment window starting 3 months before your 65th birthday and continuing 3 months after. After your enrollment period ends, you’ll need to wait for open enrollment. 

What If I Retire Before 65?

If you retire before age 65 and your employer doesn’t offer retiree benefits, you still have options. While you won’t be eligible for Medicare unless you’re in a special circumstance, you can use the Health Insurance Marketplace through the federal government to find the right plan. 

Losing coverage from an employer means you’ll be eligible for a special enrollment period. This means you don’t have to wait for open enrollment to apply for health coverage. During the application process, you can find out if your qualify for premium tax credits or any other low-cost deductions to make your plan more affordable. 

Know Your Options

Retirement can be confusing. This is supposed to be a time to kick your feet up and enjoy what you love, but it can also be intimidating to know your full scope of options when it comes to health insurance coverage. In many cases, you won’t be able to keep the health plan you have now when you retire, especially if you’re covered under an employer. 

That being said, you don’t have to go without coverage. If you’re 65 or older,  you qualify for Medicare, and this federal program has helped millions of Americans find affordable coverage. If you’re under 65, you still can qualify for a program under the Affordable Care Act by searching your healthcare marketplace. Don’t go without coverage in your golden years. Now that you know your options, you’re ready to move forward with confidence.