“The question is, will the employer still provide some kind of premium assistance for the retiree?”
Lacy said the marketplace might not be a bad option, because staying with the company plan can be expensive for the retirees — through premiums, deductibles and co-payments — as well as the employer. In the marketplace, they are more likely to find flexibility in both price and coverage for their individual medical needs and budget, he noted.
Still, cutting that tether to the company plan can be unsettling. And it can be a challenge to sort through the different plans to make sure a patient’s long-term physician is part of the new network.
“The ideal would be if your former employer still kept you in a retirement plan, but the exchanges are better than getting thrown out without any insurance at all,” Landis said. “And, even better than being a safety net, it’s an affordable safety net.”
The good news for early retirees, he added, is that finding good health coverage is a short-term problem.
For most, it’s only a few more years before they will be eligible for Medicare.