iStock_000013346445MediumYou may already know that your full retirement age is 65 to 67, depending upon your year of birth. Once you reach that age, you can claim your full Social Security benefits. But some people want or need to retire early, and choose to claim their benefits at age 62. Of course, your Social Security benefits are permanently reduced from what they would have been, but this may not concern you if you have another source of income in retirement.

But before you jump the gun, consider the fact that you won’t receive Medicare until age 65. If you retire at 62, you will have come up with another way to cover medical expenses. And since it is common for retirees to develop health problems in their 60s, it probably would not be wise to gamble on good health and go without health insurance for those three years.

Some employers do provide retiree health benefits. In this case, you might count yourself lucky! But before you retire and count on that insurance, check the policy limitations and deductible so that you won’t be surprised by high out-of-pocket expenses.

If you’re one of the unlucky persons whose company is phasing out retiree health benefits, you will have to purchase your own health insurance through the exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act. The good news is that you might receive a subsidy to help you pay your premiums. The bad news is that these subsidies are based on income, so you might not qualify. Talk to your insurance broker to find out more about the exchanges and subsidies. Since health insurance premiums tend to increase every year, particularly for older people, you should consult carefully with your financial professional to make sure you have enough income to cover this expense.

Whatever route you choose, remember that you don’t want to deplete your retirement fund too early. Keep your out-of-pocket health care expenses as low as possible, and preserve your retirement fund for the future. Remember, you can first apply for Medicaid starting three months before your 65th birthday.

This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency.