(Image dalehugo under CC 2.0)
Recent reports are underscoring the importance of remaining in good health throughout your life. It turns out that the top reason retired persons must return to work is health care expenses. For those who retire before they become eligible for Medicare, buying individual health insurance can be difficult. Many health insurance companies refuse to write policies for older individuals, because they tend to have more pre-existing conditions and are therefore less profitable. You can find coverage, but it is usually more expensive than it would be if you were younger. Meager Social Security payments are usually not able to cover all of the cost, while Medicare is widely predicted to see funding cutbacks in the next decade.
So what should a middle-aged person preparing for retirement do? Financial planners suggest that you start comparing health insurance rates now (before retirement), taking care to consider deductibles, prescription co-payments, and long term care in addition to the premiums. While you are still working, you should also start depositing money into a tax-free Health Savings Account in order to pay for health insurance in the future. After the age of 55, an individual can deposit a total of $4,000 into an HSA annually.