What Are We Going To Do About Healthcare If We Retire Early?

Over the last 5 years or so, I’ve been getting more and more serious about retiring early.  As our assets have increased, early retirement has felt more and more possible.  My goal for the past 5 years has been to stop working at 51.  In the age of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare for the 35% of people that didn’t know they were the same thing), I was confident that our assets, along with an affordable health insurance premium, would be able to support our modest lifestyle just as it has for Justin at Root of Good and so many other early retirees.

Then November 20th happened and the Republicans took over Congress and the Executive branch.  As they’ve been saying for many years, they want to get rid of Obamacare as fast as they possibly can.  While that sounds good to many people, it’s not clear how that will change the health insurance landscape.  At this point, all we can do is wait.  Initially it sounded like we wouldn’t need to wait long to see how the Republicans will change health care, although over the last week or so, there have been various reports that they won’t bring forward a plan until late this year or some time next year.  So we wait.

So what am I going to do in the meantime?  I’m going to keep getting up and going to work each day and try to just be patient.  My initial thoughts are that I’ll likely continue working past 51 and head towards at least 55.  That will give me an additional 4 years to keep building our assets and hopefully give us enough capital that we’ll be able to cover our health care costs from 55 until we are eligible for Medicare (currently age 65, although that could also change).

As we approach our early retirement, we’ll also seriously consider moving overseas.  My wife and daughter are both British citizens so we’ve been considering moving to the UK at some point in the future.  We’ve looked in to the requirements for legally getting me over there and it would be fairly easy to get approval due to my wife and daughter being British.  Obviously moving to the UK has it’s pluses and minuses.  Our taxes would be higher than they are here, but we’d also have more predictable expenses for health care and other social services.  I think the health care would have to get pretty bad here for us to consider moving just for that but it’s always an option in the back of our heads.  Before we did anything like that, we’d also have to run the numbers.  It could very well be that we’d pay more in taxes over there than it would cost to stay in the US and just pay exorbitant health care premiums.

In a perfect world, it would be easy to anticipate our retirement expenses but since the world is far from perfect, we’ll continue to try to build a plan that can handle anything we throw at it.  That means saving as much as we possibly can now and letting that money work for us in the market until we need it.