Asking the Question: What to do About Early Retirees?

There is a lively discussion going on over at John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog ( about what to do about early retirees and their health care needs. John points out that there are about 78 million baby boomers, and that if the past is a guide to the future, more than 80% of them will retire early (before eligibility for Medicare).

He points out that many of these early retirees will be in for a big shock when they start exploring the options they have for insuring themselves. High premiums, medical underwriting, and paying for insurance after taxes will all be new concepts to most people in this group.

So what to do? John has some ideas. He suggests allowing employers to help early retirees to acquire insurance by negotiating discounts and funding health savings accounts. He also would like to see early retirees have the ability to pay for health plans with pre-tax dollars. Finally, he suggests that both the employer and the employee should have the ability to save (pretax) in preparation for post retirement healthcare.

Health Plan Innovation Take: If John is right about 80% of this cohort retiring prior to age 65, this could be the biggest healthcare issue not currently being widely discussed in the media and other health care reform forums. We all know that the Baby Boomers have never been a generation to go along quietly. They are sure to raise ruckus as more and more of this generation find themselves in the individual health care market. It is time to prepare.

Check out John Goodman’s blog at:

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