As we consider retiring, it’s imperative that pre-retirees and early retires prepare themselves for their healthcare expenses in retirement.

Pre and early retirees should know once they hit age 65, they’re allowed to apply for Medicare, but they’re also allowed to buy a plan through the Exchange. If you’re considering buying through an Exchange, it’s important to factor plans based on network, benefits, and affordability.

For early retirees, compare the cost of COBRA vs. individual health insurance through the marketplaces. According to studies, a Silver individual health plan through the marketplace would cost $336 a month (national average).  For COBRA, you’re usually required to pay the entire premium plus up to a 2% administrative fee. In most cases, COBRA may be costlier than purchasing through the Exchange, but you should calculate each cost to decide which option is more cost effective.