Much of my journey to early retirement was carefully planned. I saved a lot, invested carefully, read extensively. But in one area — health care — I was just plain lucky. Health insurance is one of the most critical issues in retirement: To live without it before Medicare starts at age 65 is to court financial ruin. In my first article on retirement health care in 2012 I described the meager options available then, and my own good fortune in obtaining retirement health coverage as part of my wife’s public school teacher benefits.
But what about those who want to retire early without the good fortune of retirement health benefits? Last year I began an exploration of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as “Obamacare.” I logged onto our state insurance exchange, went shopping for a plan as if I had no insurance, and reported on what I found. Though the system seemed workable, I decided there was no clear financial reason for us to switch, especially given the risk factors of a new, complex law, still subject to change.