Premature Retirement


A front-page story in today's New York Times bemoans the decline of employer-paid retiree health coverage. It's filled with complaints from people who retired early and are dismayed at the cost of health insurance without their former employer's subsidy. Some of them may have a legitimate grievance, depending upon what they were promised when they retired. But as a general matter, the solution to this latest crisis seems pretty clear: People need to work longer, at least until Medicare kicks in at age 65. (Given that the average 65-year-old can expect to live another 18 years or so, even that cutoff seems a bit low.) It's hard to work up much sympathy for people who decide to retire in their mid-to-late 50s, as the people described in the story did, and then have trouble paying for health insurance.