As a New York Times article points out, the new health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act offer those who are nearing retirement age more options.
Currently, someone who might be contemplating retirement might choose to delay until they are eligible for Medicare at age 65. Those who retire prior to age 65 may have a difficult time finding an insurer that will cover them, and may be asked to pay more than they can afford, even if they can find coverage. Lack of access to health care may cause someone who is otherwise ready to retire to delay until they are Medicare eligible.
Beginning October 1, however, people who retire before age 65 can enroll in coverage in the new health insurance marketplaces, and may get tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies to keep coverage affordable. Even those who have pre-existing medical conditions will be able to get coverage thanks to the provision of the ACA that requires insurers to cover everyone regardless of health history or status beginning January 1, 2014. That means someone who retires at age 63 will be able to get coverage — even if their former employer doesn’t offer health insurance to retirees, something fewer and fewer employers are doing.
Insurers will also be limited in how much they can charge someone on the basis of age, and won’t be able to charge someone more because they’ve been sick in the past. That means premiums in the marketplace will be affordable for more people. In fact, a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that premiums will be lower than anticipated in many places.
In short, the ACA is doing its job to make health insurance affordable for all of us and ensure more fairness in the health insurance market.