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I'm just starting to look at the possibility of retiring at age 53. Health benefits, pensions, etc don't start until age 55. Can you suggest a good starting point to complete the "study" above? We've got a good PPO now, and would like to have something like that. I've heard cobra might be the way to go, especially since we'd have 18 months max until the regular retirment health care kicks in (along with the pension

COBRA is probably the best way to go. We're in a similar situation, and I've checked with several insurance programs (I'm in Virginia). In a lengthy discussion with a representative from USAA (they will find several health insurance possibilities for you), we determined that ultimately the cheapest method was COBRA, even though you pay the whole amount. Buying individual policies at our advanced ages is generally more expensive than COBRA, especially if there are any pre-existing conditions.

If anybody out there has a better notion, I'd love to hear it. (OK-see it).

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