What do I do about health insurance if my employer doesn’t offer it?

I haven’t posted about this before because I didn’t think it was all that interesting. But I think a lot of people who are eyeing early retirement have a lot of anxiety around what they’ll do about health insurance.‎

First of all, I think it’s really weird that in our country our ability to get health insurance or medical care is tied to our employer and their decision about whether to offer it. How is that the system we ended up with? It’s so weird when you switch jobs you have to go through this whole process of signing up with a different health insurance system. Why is our relationship with health care at the whim of our employers? I don’t know why, but I think that’s dumb.‎

Plus, what if your employer doesn’t offer health insurance? Or you retire early like I did? Then what?!‎

Well, I’ll tell you what I do. I simply buy it. I went to healthcare.gov (actually coveredca.com for me since I’m in CA). I followed the steps, chose a plan, entered my credit card and now I have health insurance! My premium as a single 39 year old is $363/month. A lot of money for sure. It will be a lot more if you have a family. Health care in this country is very expensive, but that’s the world we live in for now. (Although, if you’re a low income earner who needs insurance, the plans can be heavily subsidized to make sure you can afford it… I don’t qualify for those though!)‎

One nice thing is, other than the cost, it’s a pretty simple process. Just need some basic facts about yourself. No need for a medical exam or anything. You have a lot of choices about plans and doctors and all that. ‎

So if you’re thinking about early retirement, one option for health insurance is to simply budget for it and buy it with money. If you’re signing up for health insurance for the first time, you have to do it during “open enrollment”. So mark those calendars! :)‎

As always, reminding you to build wealth by following the two PFC rules: 1.) Live below your means and 2.) Invest early and often.‎


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