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Early retirees falling into coverage gap?

Health Care and Health Insurance
by Glenn Tobleman
How satisfied are ACA exchange enrollees?
How satisfied are ACA exchange enrollees?

These days, millions more Americans have health insurance than they did just a few years ago, but at the same time, there is still a potentially significant part of the population that could be affected by a lack of coverage: baby boomers who retire early.

Those who pull out of the workforce before they reach the age of 65 might find themselves at something of a crossroads when it comes to their health care: While they are certainly more likely to need more regular attention from doctors because of their age, they might not have the insurance plans their old jobs previously provided, and they have yet to qualify for Medicare, according to a report from the Annapolis Capital Gazette. In many cases, though, they might be able to find their new coverage through the federal or state health insurance exchanges, mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. For those making less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, they would often also be able to qualify for subsidies that could further help to reduce their costs for obtaining such coverage.

Other options remain available
Of course, many people who choose to retire early might have even greater income than that, and therefore may be forced to find a different solution to their lack of coverage, the report said. In this regard, private health insurers may be able to help fill in the gaps, and consumers in nearly every part of the country - save for Vermont and the District of Columbia - have this option available to them. Of course, these can vary widely from the plans they might have enjoyed when they were still obtaining coverage through their previous employers, and as such they will have to look around carefully to make sure that they're able to find plans that allow them to visit the same doctors, or similar ones, that they did in the past.

Health insurance companies would certainly do well to consider the ways in which they can reach this potential population of early retirees. With so many baby boomers now somewhere between 55 and 65, and perhaps considering early retirement, the ability to connect with people in an effort to meet their coverage needs when other types aren't available to them might become rather important for all involved.

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