John O'Neil, writing in The New York Times, reports that the evaporation of health benefits for younger retirees will be playing an important role in the final career trajectory of the baby boom generation. "Even more than pensions, they say, retirees' access to health insurance may determine whether the next decade sees an outpouring of late-in-life energy and entrepreneurialism or whether offices will be clogged with workers stuck in their cubicles until they turn 65." In particular, workers need to contemplate having $50,000 to $100,000, or more, to cover health insurance until they qualify for Medicare, assuming they are healthy enough to qualify for insurance at all.
After discussing many aspects of the problem, O'Neil does conclude by pointing out that there are some signs of new alternatives emerging. For example, some states have extended COBRA coverage. In addition, some companyies are exploring the idea of adding or extending health insurance for pre-Medicare retirees, as they try to manage the departure of their baby boom work forces--discovering that a lot of people are hanging around, ready to retire, but they just don't have the benefits."
Source: "Want to Retire Early and Hang a Shingle? It'll Cost You" New York Times (April 11, 2006)