For those considering retirement, before or after age 65, there are a number of important healthcare considerations.

What happens with your employer health benefits when you retire? If you retire early, will you have health insurance to cover you until age 65 when Medicare takes over? Will you need Medicare supplement insurance to cover any gaps in Medicare coverage after age 65? What healthcare needs might not be covered by Medicare, Medicare supplement insurance or your retiree health insurance?

A new publication from the MetLife Mature Market Institute, Retirement Planning: Healthcare Considerations, seeks to answer these questions and more. The guide also points readers to resources for further investigation.

The booklet is available free to the public by calling 203-221-6580, via e-mail to, or by download at under ‘What’s New.’

"Healthcare and how to pay for it, is one of the major concerns that pre-retirees face as they plan for their transition into retirement," according to Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director, MetLife Mature Market Institute. "We designed this publication to help people make the right decisions for their needs and the needs of their families, taking both financial and emotional implications into account."

Retirement Planning: Healthcare Considerations addresses the following:

• Planning and what early steps to take

  • Explore employer retiree health benefits
  • Ask questions to determine coverage and costs
  • Explore benefits through spouse’s employer

• Early Retirement

  • An explanation of COBRA
  • COBRA and Medicare Eligibility
  • Private insurance
  • Health Savings Accounts

• Medicare

  • Eligibility
  • What does Medicare cover?
  • What doesn’t Medicare cover?
  •  Prescription drug coverage

• Resources

  • Publications
  • Useful Web sites

According to a 2004 study, the Lifetime Distribution of Health Care Costs, for those who live beyond age 85, almost 60% of their total lifetime healthcare costs are spent after age 65. In addition, healthcare costs are rising at a faster rate than inflation, putting families’ retirement savings at risk.

Health insurance rates rose 7.7% between spring 2005 and spring 2006. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported in 2006 that only 35% of employers with 200 employees or more offered health benefits to retirees, down from 66% in 1988. Of those who did, most (94%) offered benefits to early retirees while 77% offer them to Medicare-age retirees.


The MetLife Mature Market Institute is MetLife’s information and policy resource center on issues related to aging, retirement, long-term care and the mature market. Staffed by gerontologists, the Institute provides research, training and education, consultation and information to support MetLife, its corporate customers and business partners. MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading provider of insurance and financial services with operations throughout the U.S. and the Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions.

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Christine Bonney
DJC Communications
Debra Caruso