Retiring early may sound really tempting. But leaving the workforce just a few years early can saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in additional medical costs.
If a couple chooses to retire at the age of 62 instead of 65, they will face $51,000 in additional medical expenses, according to a report released Thursday by Fidelity Investments.
The major cause: Medicare coverage doesn't kick in until age 65. So without coverage from a former employer, which is an increasingly rare benefit, the couple would have to pay for private insurance.
"When you decide to retire early, you're on your own basically," said Sunit Patel, senior vice president of Fidelity's benefits consulting.
While the Affordable Care Act ensures that retirees won't be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, the couple would still face around $17,000 a year in health care premiums and out-of-pocket expenses if they bought a policy on one of the exchanges, Fidelity estimates.
With the help of government subsidies, retirees with moderate incomes would likely be able to lower that bill. But many couples with joint retirement incomes would not qualify, Patel said.
That's a lot of extra money to dole out for just three extra years of retirement.
"As part of the financial planning process, it's very important for individuals to take (these costs) into account," said Patel.
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