When you’re planning to retire, or if you have already retired, you may be wondering how you’ll pay for health care until you can sign up for Medicare.1 Fortunately, there are many options for people who need help paying for insurance costs.

Most people age 65 and over have Medicare, a national health insurance program. In addition to free or low-cost Medicare Part A hospital insurance, the program includes parts B, C, and D that cover doctor visits, medical equipment, and prescription drugs. People who are retired or soon will be retiring can get help applying for and enrolling in Medicare online. They can also find out if they are eligible for financial help to pay their premiums, deductibles, and copayments.

Many people automatically get Medicare when they start receiving Social Security retirement benefits at age 62 or later. Others have to sign up for the program during their Initial Enrollment Period, which begins 3 months before you turn 65 and ends 3 months after. If you miss this window, you can still sign up for Medicare during a special enrollment period, but you will have to pay a higher monthly premium.

In addition to the Medicare enrollment process, you need to think about what type of private health insurance you will want and need. Some people choose to buy an individual plan in the marketplace, and the ACA has made it easier for many to purchase coverage than before. However, if you’re retiring mid-year and your income is expected to be high, you should understand how the ACA’s new modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) calculation works before you sign up for a marketplace plan.

Other seniors may prefer to stick with the insurance they have through their employers and keep it until they retire. This is possible, but you should ask your employer if it’s possible to continue your current coverage into retirement. If not, you’ll need to find another option like COBRA or state continuation. It’s also worth knowing that some private insurers have plans available for seniors at any age, and you can sometimes port your policy from one insurer to the next. You should also look into senior discounts on items and services in your local area. These can be a great way to save money on things you need, such as restaurant meals or prescriptions. There are even some Senior citizen health insurance after 65 and retirement plans that offer discounts for specific types of prescription drugs.