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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: December 2023

Insuring Healthcare after Retirement

Michael L Goldblatt

Insuring Healthcare after Retirement Arcurs

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About 60 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed amendments to the Social Security Act that added health insurance for people 65 and older. Known as “Medicare,” the amendments added mandatory coverage for hospitalization (Part A) and optional coverage for physician services (Part B). Medicare was expanded in 1997 to include managed care (Part C) and in 2006 prescription coverage (Part D) was added. About 60 million retired Americans are currently enrolled in Medicare and enrollment is expected grow to 85 million by 2030.

At the time of retirement, married couples spend about $1,000/month for health insurance. During retirement years, the cost of insuring healthcare increases due to aging and inflation. Below are tips for insuring healthcare and links to additional resources. Plan now to financially secure your healthcare after retirement.


BudgetingDuring your 20’s, start saving for post-retirement healthcare and other costs of living. Open a Health Savings Account and an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to save tax-free. It’s never too late to start saving or increase your savings rate. Motivate yourself with rewards for reaching milestones.

Dental, Hearing, and Vision – Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for routine dental, hearing, or vision care, except for limited coverage available to participants in Medicare Advantage plans. Consider purchasing insurance to cover these expenses and asking healthcare providers for discounts available to retired patients.

Drugs – Unless enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, enroll in Part D drug coverage. Enrollment is not automatic. Register for Part D when you are 65 to avoid a late enrollment penalty. Check annually during open enrollment periods to optimize coverage. 

Doctors and Hospitalization – Registration for Medicare is mandatory when you turn 65 even if still employed. Delayed signup can cause a gap in coverage and result in penalties. Remember to notify Medicare when ending your pre-retirement insurance coverage. Set up an automatic payment plan since prompt payment prevents loss of coverage.

Managed Care – Medicare Advantage is an optional alternative to traditional Medicare (Parts A, B, and D). Medicare Advantage has slightly more benefits and lower premiums than traditional Medicare, but fewer participating doctors and pre-authorization is required to see specialists. About 50% of Medicare beneficiaries chose Medicare Advantage.

Nursing – Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage only cover short-term stays in skilled nursing facilities for those meeting requirements like being hospitalized for 3 days prior to admission to a nursing home. Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance by mid-50’s to cover nursing care and assisted living facilities. Delaying purchase will result in higher premiums and risk health conditions that disqualify coverage.

Supplemental Insurance – Participants in traditional Medicare can purchase supplemental insurance, known as “Medigap” from private insurance companies. Medigap covers traditional Medicare’s 20% co-pay, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs. Medigap is available from insurance companies at monthly charges that vary by plan and insurer. The best time to get Medigap coverage is at age 65. After 65, Medigap may not be available or could be more expensive.


Insurance plays a critical role in retirement. Comprehensive insurance coverage is key to avoiding the financial stress of medical care. Financially secure your healthcare after retirement by using the tips and resources mentioned in this article.


Dana Anspach, How to Plan for Health Care Costs in Retirement, The Balance, Mar. 30, 2022.

Nate Black, Do You Really Know What Your HSA Can Do For You, Kiplinger’s, Oct. 23, 2023.

Kimberly Lankford, Use Medicare’s Plan Finder to Choose, Enroll in Part D, AARP, Apr, 4. 2023.

Penelope Wang, The Pros and Cons of Medicare Advantage, Consumer Reports, Nov. 3, 2022.

Kim Painter, Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance, AARP, Oct. 13, 2021.

Leasha West, Make-or-Break Medicare Mistakes, ABA Experience, Feb. 1, 2021.


Patricia Barry, Medicare for Dummies, Wiley, Oct. 20, 2020.

Lawrence Frolik, The Law of Later-Life Healthcare and Decision Making, 2d Ed, ABA Book Publishing, Dec. 11, 2017.

Staff, Long-Term Care: How to Plan and Pay for It, Nolo Press, Nov. 2022.

Staff, Medicare & You 2024: The Official U.S. Government Medicare Handbook, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Sept. 14, 2023.

David Wurz, The Lawyer Millionaire: The Complete Guide for Attorneys on Maximizing Wealth, Minimizing Taxes, and Retiring with Confidence, ABA Book Publishing, Jul. 28, 2022.

Podcasts and Webinars

Nuts and Bolts of Medicare Advantage, American Bar Association, Jan. 11, 2023.

Understanding Social Security Regular Retirement and Medicare: The Basics, American Bar Association, Feb. 25, 2021.

Get Started with Medicare: Your Initial Enrollment in Medicare, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Feb. 2023.  

What’s the Difference Between Original Medicare & Medicare Advantage, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Feb. 2023.


AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) – articles.

ABA (American Bar Association) – articles and videos.

CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) – articles and videos.

SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) – directory of health insurance counsellors.

Solace (Find Solace, Inc) – directory of healthcare advocates.