Q&A: Healthcare costs could nix early retirement

Dear Liz: Recently you included a letter from a retired person who was amused by the suggestion that early retirees may have to go abroad to find affordable healthcare. I was horrified by that letter and shared your article with several friends. Something is deeply wrong when a nation offers citizens who have contributed to its success so few options regarding decent medical care. It makes me very sad and angry. Thank you for focusing attention on this issue.

Answer: Currently early retirees do have an option before they’re old enough for Medicare, which is to buy insurance from Affordable Care Act exchanges. The future of that coverage is in doubt, though, which is why many financial planners are warning their clients who had planned on early retirement to continue working, if that guarantees them access to health insurance. Moving abroad is another option for the adventurous, but obviously won’t be a good solution for many.

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  1. and, as a person who retired at age 51 (21 years ago), I can speak from experience. I knew I would have to pay because my employer did not offer post-retirement coverage, however, my union did. I was allowed to pay for insurance at the group rate until I was able to age into Medicare. I’m a retired California police officer, and I’m lucky in many ways. Some friends who retired from Departments which, at the time, guaranteed medical coverage for life, found the municipalities from which they retired could no longer afford to cover retirees and coverage was cancelled. some were able to return to work. some were/are unexpectedly paying thousands of dollars for coverage.