The baby boomer generation (ages 45 to 64) is worried about losing their health insurance, and the current economy is even more cause for concern. Many baby boomers have been either laid off or forced to retire early, and with that comes the loss of their employer sponsored health insurance plan. Meanwhile, they're not yet old enough to enroll in Medicare.
According to Emily Brandon of U.S. News and World Report, there are still several options available to people in this age group. They include:
1. Continuing your former employer's coverage through COBRA, which they are required to offer unless they go out of business. However, you will have to cover the entire cost of the plan, plus a 2% administrative fee, yourself.
2. Getting on your spouse's health insurance, if they have continued to work and their employer allows it.
3. Finding another job and continuing to work until you turn 65. Some companies even offer health insurance benefits to part-time employees working as little as 20 hours per week.
4. If you're lucky to have worked for a firm that offers health insurance coverage to retirees (a steadily declining percentage), take advantage of it. Don't rest easy, though; many companies are failing to keep their promises and are shifting a higher portion of health care costs onto retired workers.
5. Buy yourself individual insurance. Individual health insurance policies can be expensive, with premiums of over $300 per month according to the Commonwealth Fund. It also may not cover you if you have a chronic, pre-existing condition (and will be even more costly if it does), but if you are relatively healthy it may be your only option. A high-deductible plan could save you money on premiums, although you run the risk of catastrophic out-of-pocket costs. If you go down this route, make sure to research the most affordable health insurance quotes.
There is also the option of forgoing health insurance, but it's not recommended. You'd either have to cover all of your medical expenses out-of-pocket, or go without some needed medical care.