Covering Health Care Costs Before Medicare Eligibility

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Most American educators are covered by health insurance offered through their districts, so retirement often disrupts coverage. If you're thinking of retiring early – before you reach age 65 and are eligible for Medicare – you should check with your district and/or CalSTRS or CalPERS to find out what health insurance coverage, if any, is available to you.

  • Even if health insurance is available to you, you may have to pay most or all of the premiums.
  • If you cannot continue health insurance through your employer, private health insurance is generally quite expensive, and may not be available to those with health problems.
  • Medicare coverage is not available until you reach age 65, unless you are disabled.

It pays to explore your health coverage options fully before exiting the workaday world. Perhaps your best bet, if you plan to retire early, is to tuck away enough in your 403(b) or 457 plan to pay for private health insurance until you are eligible for Medicare.

Source of Health Insurance for Retirees Under Age 65*

Source of Health Insurance for Retirees Under Age 65

* Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.