Alert
Close

Take AARP’s Smart Driver course and you could save money on your car insurance. Learn more

Highlights

Close

Think You Know AARP Caribbean Cruise Sweepstakes
AARP Auto Buying Program

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

Most Popular
ARTICLES

Viewed

Free Fun!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Work
PROGRAMS

Best Employers for Workers Over 50

See the latest winners of this AARP recognition program.

Employer Resource Center

Attract and retain top talent in a changing workforce.

Social Security Mailbox

How Can I Get Health Coverage?

7 health insurance options to consider before you're eligible for Medicare

Q. I've taken early Social Security benefits because I got laid off at 62. But I lost my health coverage and won't be eligible for Medicare until I'm 65. Where can I get affordable insurance in the meantime?

See also: 5 temp jobs you might love.

A. Of all the questions we get at the Social Security Mailbox, this is one of the most difficult. Even though other health insurance may be available for people like you, it may not be affordable. But let's look at some of the options.

COBRA

Long before the current economic downturn, there was COBRA. Those are the initials of the 1986 law that created it — the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Basically, it gives former employees and their families the right to continue their company health coverage at group rates for up to 18 months.

However, it's likely to be more expensive than it was during the years of work. That's because the employer usually pays part of the cost of insurance for active workers, but COBRA participants usually pay it all themselves. Even so, the cost may be lower than private health insurance, because you will pay group premium rates, which are normally lower than individual ones.

This federal website has detailed information about COBRA.

A spouse's plan

If you have a spouse who has health insurance at work, you may be able to join that plan. And under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, people under 26 may be able to join their parents' plan.

Private health insurance

You can apply for private health insurance from companies licensed to offer it in your state. The cost is likely to be high and the company may reject you if you have a preexisting medical condition.

Next: What is a PCIP? »

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Thanks to reproductive technology, more women in their 50s are having babies, and more women are overcoming medical issues to become mothers.

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Jobs You Might Like

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Woman sitting on sofa using laptop
membership adt

Small business owners save 20% on new installation of any new ADT security system.

Mujer en la parte de afuera de so negocio

Free quotes for members from the AARP® Small Business Insurance Program.

Member Benefits

Renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Explore Your Learning Possiblities