Lauren Lewthwaite Last Updated On: August 1, 2023

What You Need to Know About Finding the Best Health Insurance for Retirees

You’ve worked hard your whole life. When you finally retire, you don’t want to have to work hard  to get the best health insurance too. The good news is that there are plenty of options for people looking for affordable health insurance for retirees.

From Medicare to insurance from your former employers, supplemental insurance, and private health insurance for early retirees, there’s a plan to suit your needs and budget—and we can help you find it.

Keep reading. We’re sharing everything you need to know about finding the best health insurance for retirees, whether you retire after age 65 or earlier.

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Table of Contents

Are You Retiring Before Age 65?

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (aka ACA, aka Obamacare), you can’t be denied coverage for health insurance, even if you have preexisting conditions. You can buy ACA health insurance for retirees under 65 through your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace (like 

ACA health plans provide you with 10 crucial health benefits, including emergency services, prescriptions, and preventive care.

ACA plans can be costly, with the average monthly premium in 2020 coming in at around $462 for a 40-year-old. Older adults can expect higher premiums.

This said, you are not condemned to paying exorbitant premiums. You can reduce your premiums by choosing a high deductible policy. Deductibles—the amount you have to pay for covered services before your insurance plan kicks in—can change your monthly payment because the more you pay initially, the lower the monthly payment. 

Of course, your monthly premium payment is only lower because you paid more out-of-pocket to begin with, so you have to make sure you can afford this upfront expense.

Saving Money With the affordable Health Insurance for Retirees

Ultimately, the best health insurance for you is going to save you money on your out-of-pocket costs. One of the easiest ways to lock-in those savings is to visit in-networkers providers. These providers have negotiated a deal with your health insurance company and will provide lower rates. 

Following, out-of-network providers will usually cost you more. So, when looking for the best health insurance option, look for a provider with in-network health care providers in your area. 

We’re here to help. Request a free quote and we’ll automatically pair you with providers with local in-network partnerships.

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How the Private Health Insurance for Retirees Saves You Time?

We get it: you don’t want to spend your retirement fussing around with claims and trying to discern the small-print on your coverage. This is why the best health insurance for retired person will make submitting claims and understanding your coverage easy with online portals and/or apps. Here, you can submit claims, find in-network providers, print temporary ID cards, view claims, and pay for health insurance premiums. 

The best health insurance companies for retirees will also provide a 24/7 support line so you can talk to clinicians about your health concerns whenever you need to.

Tell Me About Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance for Retirees

Some employers—usually larger employers—sponsor health insurance for their retired workforce and even for their early retirees, if you’ve worked at the company long enough. In this case, the company might cover part of your premium after you’ve retired. Check with your company’s human resources department to see how your benefits change after you retire. 

In the event your company’s insurance plan doesn’t continue into retirement, don’t worry: a provision by a government program—Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)—means that you can temporarily maintain your employer’s health insurance for a period after you leave your job.

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Understanding COBRA

The COBRA program allows you and your family to keep your employer-sponsored health insurance plan for up to 18 months after you retire or lose your job. COBRA usually only applies to companies with at least 20 people and once you’re no longer employed, you are on the hook for 100% of the premium. 

The other catch: your insurance provider can charge you 2% for administration fees when you make this transition. 

However, the plan may be worth the price, especially because employer-sponsored health premiums tend to be lower thanks to group rates. To activate COBRA, all you need to do is contact the health plan provider within the 30 day period after you leave your job. Your insurance company will direct you as to how to trigger COBRA. 

Just mind the details: insurance plans can change frequently, so look for changes to your plan. For instance, preferred specialists that were once considered in-network may not be in-network anymore. When in doubt, ask an agent.

What to Do if You Have Retiree Health Benefits?

If you are retired and have health benefits, you can buy a Marketplace plan instead but just keep in mind that if you decide to drop your retiree coverage, you will not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll. You will need to wait until the next available Open Enrollment period. 

Another thing: if you drop your retiree health benefits, you won’t be able to use your premiums as a tax credit or other income-based savings. If you are not enrolled in retiree coverage, however—even if you are eligible— you might still be able to use your premiums as tax credits. You also might be able to reduce out-of-pocket based on your income and household size.

Here's How We Select the Best Health Insurance for Retirees

Our selection process is simple: we looked beyond Medicare to Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap policies, private insurance, as well as short-term coverage. Next, we whittled down this list of over a dozen providers to the top five, using affordability, benefits, coverage options, customer service, financial stability, and accessibility to determine the best of the best.

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During your Open Enrollment, you can add or drop dependents, increase, decrease or cancel your coverage, change your plan to family or individual, and of course, change your health plan entirely.

Just bear in mind that if you cancel your plan, you cannot join again.

Yes, you can reduce or cancel your insurance whenever you’d like, but if you do cancel, you cannot join the program again. If you do want to make changes, you’ll need to experience a Qualifying Status Change (QSC) and within the QSC window, you’ll be required to make changes.

A word to the wise: Enroll for Medicare Part B as soon as you are eligible (i.e. because you’ve reached age 65 or have a disability). This will help you avoid costly out-of-pocket expenses. At this time, you’ll be transferred to a Medicare coverage tier.


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