Fill your riskiest gap: insurance
Before you even think of leaving your job, be sure your family is covered.
NEW YORK (Money Magazine) -- When it comes to retiring early, your single biggest obstacle is going to be health insurance. Before you even think of leaving your job, be sure your family will have adequate coverage.
If your spouse is still working at a company with health benefits, that's likely your best option. Then see what's available where you work.
Talk to HR even if your employer, like most, has stopped providing retiree health benefits. All companies with 20 or more workers must offer departing employees coverage for up to 18 months, under the law known as COBRA. You'll have to pay the tab, but it's likely to be lower than for a private policy.
When COBRA runs out, you have two choices. One is to look for a job that includes health coverage, although it can be difficult to find a company that offers insurance to part-time workers.
The other is to find private health insurance. That can be pricey.
A 55-year-old couple could easily pay upwards of $9,000 a year for a policy with a $2,000 deductible, 20 percent co-insurance and an out-of-pocket limit of $2,000.
If you're healthy and don't expect you'll have large medical bills, consider a policy that has a higher deductible and out-of-pocket limit. That can reduce your premium by a good 40 percent or more.
To compare quotes and policy features from different insurers, go to ehealthinsurance.com.
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