Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

News You Should Know

News You Should Know: The Total Cost of Health Insurance

Photo credit: bee_k

2020 Employer Health Benefits Survey | Kaiser Family Foundation

This survey is geared toward employers who provide health insurance to employees. But the findings are eye-opening for individuals, too. They illustrate why the average American worker who retires before Medicare age faces sticker shock when shopping for health insurance.

In 2019, employees paid an average of $5,588 annually ($465 monthly) in premiums for family coverage through their employers. Employers, meanwhile, chipped in a staggering $15,754 ($1,312 monthly). Combined, family coverage ended up costing $21,342 per year ($1,778 monthly).

That employer contribution can obscure the overall cost of coverage. That, in turn, can explain why prices seem to jump so much when moving from employment to retirement. The overall price likely didn’t change too much. Instead, it’s losing the employer contribution that leads to the big jump in prices early retirees see.

Studies Confirm That Half Of Americans Struggle With Retirement | Forbes

Retirement experts have been warning about a retirement crisis for decades. That prediction is turning into an observation. For the next two decades, 10,000 people will blow out 65 candles on their birthday cakes—every single day.

Despite the drumbeat of warnings, about half of employees “are concerned with their household’s financial wellbeing.” And half of households “are in danger of lacking sufficient funds to continue their standard of living once they stop working.” This article explores why. (Note: it focuses on those who rely on defined contribution accounts for retirement).

The case for a retirement roommate | NNY360

The cost of renting is going up. And more than 40 percent of people age 65 and above live alone. Why not address both issues at once?

This author makes the case that more retirees should consider finding a roommate. Not only can it make financial sense, but having a roommate can also fend off one of the biggest risks retirees face: social isolation. It might not be for everyone, but it could be a great solution for many. In fact, one room-renting website reported that the number of users over 50 is growing twice as fast as other demographics.

How to Pick the Right Medicare Plans for You | Kiplinger

October is open enrollment time. For those looking for Medicare plans, navigating the options can be tricky. There are many parts (A, B, D) to consider, doughnut holes to avoid, and more. This article is an overview of what you need to know when assessing your needs and the available options.

(Note: PERA retirees have multiple Medicare insurance plans available through PERACare. During the month of October, you can attend a virtual meeting to learn more about how these plans work.)

News You Should Know is a digest of news from publications around the nation about finance, investing, and retirement.

Defined contributionA voluntary plan in which participants can save pre-tax income for retirement. Contributions are “defined” by the employee, but the future benefit is not guaranteed.


  1. Mary says:

    Question: if I choose to enroll with Medicare, do I need to keep my Kaiser plan?

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      Hi Mary,

      Great question. To be in any of the PERACare Medicare plans, you must be enrolled in Medicare parts A and B at the same time. They work hand in hand. Supplemental plans like PERACare help fill in the gaps that Medicare has, most notably prescription drug coverage.

      That said, you are not required to be enrolled in a PERACare plan if you do not wish to have it.

    • Nancy Bullock says:

      The question is “are still working and what type of insurance plan are you on?” If you are working and have a high deductible medical plan and you enroll in Medicare, you will lose the opportunity to contribute to a Health Savings Account and receive employer contributions.

  2. Tom says:

    My wife will turn 65 a year+ before me (a state employee, I am 62). I intend to continue working past 65. Does she have to sign up for a Medicare supplement or can she stay on my coverage? How can we locate a Medicare advise to help us as we transition over several years to full Medicare coverage?

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      Hi Tom,
      If she will have health care through her or your employer when she turns 65, discuss that with the HR department in question: Many employer-based insurance policies ask you to sign up at least for Medicare Part A, which is free for most people (Part B has a monthly premium. If you are retired and are considering PERACare, you do have the ability to sign up for insurance together–she would be on the Medicare plan when she turns 65 and you would be on a preMedicare plan. I encourage you to attend a PERACare webinar, where they walk you through this process in more detail:

  3. Concerned Citizen says:

    My employer pays way more towards my premiums than I do. That is not the issue. The issue is that we now have very high out of pocket costs! $4500+ fir individuals and $12,000+ for families.

  4. Hmmm says:

    Perhaps the issue is that a family health insurance policy costs a third of the median household income (before taxes, deductibles or copays) and that simply isn’t sustainable.

  5. jewel beach says:

    I chose Anthem because I use UCH: WHAT NOW??

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