Retirement Answer Man

This is the second episode in our Healthcare Before Medicare series and one you will not want to miss! This episode covers ACA and COBRA and we have a lot of ground to cover. The whole point of this series is to help you guys (and myself) figure out how to afford medical insurance before Medicare kicks in. If you have ever considered early retirement this is an important series for you to listen to since the healthcare system in the United States can be extremely confusing. So grab your headphones and a pen and paper to take notes because you’ll want to take in all the information you can in this important episode on the ACA and COBRA.

The ACA is a mess! But is it a mess that you need to consider?

The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is a mess. I mean a political mess, no one knows what the next year, or 2, or 5 will bring for this attempt at healthcare reform. Even with the political turmoil that surrounds it, the website is actually quite good and the support staff is very well trained. The ACA is set up differently in each state. All the plans have gold, silver, and bronze categories. Obamacare covers young adult kids up to age 26 and chronically ill people or those with pre-existing conditions can’t be denied. The cost of premiums depends on a person’s modified adjusted gross income, or MAGI. Listen to this episode to hear how your MAGI drastically affects your premiums when dealing with the ACA.

How does the ACA work?

The ACA was created to help people that couldn’t afford health insurance be able to afford it. This is why 85% of ACA users have some sort of subsidy or advanced premium tax credit. The amount a person pays for coverage depends on how much they make. Take for example a random couple aged 55 that lives in Texas and makes $100k annually would pay $1660 per month, reduce that income to $75k and they would pay $1440 per month, but if you reduce that income to $50k then the couple would pay only $350 per month! The trick here for retirees is all about where your money is coming from. Listen to this episode to hear the details about how where you should be taking money from to fully benefit from the ACA tax credits.

Have you considered balancing self-insuring some things to help keep costs down?

My guests Keith and Linda have been down this road recently. They are aged 53 and 58 and recently retired. Keith started researching the ACA two years ago and has learned a lot. As an engineer, it was only natural that he tried to break down this decision into a spreadsheet, but he soon realized that part of this health care decision is emotional and doesn’t simply come down to numbers. He and his wife had to decide how important it was to them to keep all of their beloved doctors. Keith also considered the costs in self-insuring some procedures since convenience and familiarity come at a high cost with the ACA. Listen to this episode to hear Keith’s insight after two years of painstaking research into the ACA and COBRA.

What do you need to consider when checking into the ACA?

After all his research Keith feels that spending lots of time on the ACA website really helped him find clarity in the muddy pool of the U.S. healthcare system. What Keith realized is that there is no one size fits all solution to the healthcare system. The biggest factors in premium costs are your income, whether you’re rural or urban, and which state you live in. If you want to get the best deal that works for your family it will take a lot of diligent research. Listen to this episode to get started in your research into the ACA and COBRA and hear about all the things you need to consider.


  • [1:22] I want to make sure that you can afford healthcare before you get to Medicare age


  • [3:22] The ACA is a mess!
  • [5:12] Here’s what I can explain to you about how ACA works
  • [12:53] Here’s an example of a hypothetical couple that wants to sign up for ACA
  • [15:43] Here’s what it would cost me to be insured through ACA


  • [18:20] Keith and Linda have been down this road
  • [22:12] How important was keeping their Dr. or self-insuring
  • [24:03] Have you ever tried to get a quote for a procedure?
  • [28:13] Keith’s perspective on the ACA
  • [36:10] What do you need to consider with the ACA


  • [40:23] Nicole’s cell phone fast has really made her happy


  • [41:58] What is one step you can take to better your health

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

BOOK - Rock Retirement  by Roger Whitney

Ask Roger a question

Work with Roger

3-video Series: 5 Minute Retirement Makeover

Roger’s Retirement Learning Center

The Retirement Answer Man Facebook Page

Intro music by

Direct download: RAM212.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CST