Q: I’m retiring from a large company that doesn’t have retiree benefits. I’m only 63 so don’t have Medicare. What should I do?
- Ask my employer to keep me on the plan for 2 more years.
- Ask my employer for assistance with some of the COBRA premiums, as it’s extremely expensive.
- Buy a series of short-term temporary medical plans.
- Live abroad in a more civilized country for a couple of years.
- None of the above.
A: None of the above. In this situation, you should compare the cost of an individual plan to the cost of the COBRA plan. Although the benefits of the COBRA plan are likely to be more comprehensive, the price difference may make it well worth your while to buy a plan on the private market. You can do so outside of the usual open enrollment time as this would be considered a qualifying event. Also, be wary of taking COBRA. If you do so, you will need to remain on COBRA until it ends or until the next open enrollment.