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Retirement health insurance options

Christian Worstell by Christian Worstell    |    Published Oct 03, 2019    |    Reviewed by John Krahnert

After you retire, you have a wide variety of health insurance options available. Your best option will depend on your needs, your budget, and your eligibility.

The following are some common retiree health insurance options:*

This article will outline the most common health insurance options for retirees and will outline each program’s features and eligibility requirements. The U.S. government website for Medicare has as long as your care is deemed medically necessary and you visit a qualifying facility. You will qualify for TRICARE For Life if you are a TRICARE beneficiary and you have Original Medicare.


The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law that may allow you to keep your employer or union health insurance after your employment ends or after you retire. It usually applies to employers with 20 or more employees. Some states require COBRA coverage to employers with less than 20 employees.

In most cases, you are able to keep your health insurance coverage for up to 18 months, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In limited situations, you may qualify for up to 36 months in COBRA coverage. The DOL states that you will be responsible for the full monthly premium that your former employer paid, plus an additional 2% for administration costs. Your employer’s benefits coordinator will have more information about your eligibility.

“If you already have COBRA when you enroll in Medicare, your COBRA coverage usually ends on the date you enroll in Medicare,” according to MedicareInteractive.org. However, you may be able to keep it “for services that Medicare does not cover.” The U.S. Department of Labor outlines who is entitled to COBRA continuation coverage.

Health Insurance Marketplace plans

Health Insurance Marketplace plans are insurance plans available through HealthCare.gov and state insurance websites. All Marketplace plans offer the same set of essential health insurance benefits, and some provide additional benefits.

If you are retired or retiring, you may qualify for a Marketplace plan in the following situations:

  1. You are 65 years old or older, but are not eligible for Medicare.
  2. You are under 65 years old, do not qualify for Medicare yet, and don’t have health coverage.

*This article is solely for informational purposes and should not be considered a solicitation of insurance.

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