If you retired before the age of 65, CONGRATS! That is an accomplishment not many get to brag about. You’ve given yourself the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends, and set off on new adventures.
But, before you ride off into the sunset, let’s make sure you are equipped with health insurance you may need during this transition time. You can find this coverage through the health insurance marketplace.
Health Insurance Marketplace
Since you will not be eligible to enroll in Medicare until you turn 65 and you lost your employer’s insurance when you retired, you will need to seek other coverage. This may mean hopping onto your spouse’s insurance if he or she is still working, but hopefully you are both enjoying retirement together!
The health insurance marketplace was created for anyone who does not have coverage under a group health plan and is not eligible for state or federal insurance programs.
When can I enroll?
If you have recently retired, you may enroll in a marketplace plan right away. Retirement is an event that qualifies you for the Special Enrollment Period, meaning that you can enroll at any time during the year. (Other events like moving, getting married, and having a baby also qualify for the Special Enrollment Period.)
How do I enroll?
You can enroll directly through the Marketplace website. From there, enrollment is pretty straightforward.
First, you’ll create a Marketplace account. You’ll enter some details about yourself, including your state of residence. If your state has its own Marketplace, you’ll be directed to that page.
Second, gather all of the documents you need to enroll. HealthCare.gov has an excellent PDF checklist of what you’ll need and why you need it.
Next, you’ll submit an initial application that will allow you to view your eligibility results. These results will tell you if you are eligible for a Marketplace plan or if you would be more suited for Medicaid.
Lastly, you’ll get to compare Marketplace plans and prices and choose the one that best fits your needs. Basic Marketplace plans do not include dental insurance, so you will be given the opportunity to find a dental plan if you wish to have one.
When you have chosen your plan, you will enroll and then pay your premium directly to the insurance carrier, not the Marketplace.
Retiring before 65 does mean you’ll likely have to foot the bill for health insurance. (Or go without, which we DEFINITELY don’t recommend!) However, if you have planned for this expense, it is still well worth taking advantage of a few extra years to fully enjoy your golden years.
As always, John is here to help answer all of your Medicare and insurance questions!