Department of Human Resources (Employer) 

If you are employed, your first step should be to contact your human resources department to discuss your planned retirement. In a private practice, the business manager or the physician manager should be contacted, especially if you have a pension plan, a profit-sharing plan and/or a 401K.

Health Insurance and Dental Benefits

After retirement, clinics and organizations may help pay your health and dental benefits, subject to certain rules. For example, premiums might be paid for you and possibly your spouse until death, depending on years of service and age at retirement. If you retire prior to eligibility for Medicare ask about Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA) insurance from your employer. Your state may also have laws that complement the federal COBRA laws.

Health Care Spending Account 

If you have such an account, you should learn whether there are special retirement rules depending upon such things as your organization’s fiscal year, your actual date of retirement, etc.

Life Insurance

A conversion option may be available.

Long Term Disability Insurance

Typically, long term disability insurance can be safely discontinued if you are no longer working. Otherwise, check about the possible availability of a conversion option. 

Retirement Plans, IRAs, Etc.

You will likely need to contact your “Pension Carrier” (and maybe your personal financial consultant) regarding this. Your plan may have special rules you’ll need to comply with. Also, several distribution options are usually available. Keep in mind the requirement to make obligatory “minimum” withdrawals from age 70 1/2, referred to as Required Minimal Distributions (RMDs). 

These areas of legal and financial planning may require consultation with specialists in either “elder law” or estate planning. To learn more about “elder law,” view the information at public interest elder law groups.

Social Security 

If you are old enough to receive benefits you’ll need to check with your social security office. Contact them at least 90 days prior to retirement to discuss the initiation of benefits. Consider planning for direct electronic deposits of your Social Security payments to your bank. Enrolling in social security depends on your circumstances also but there is no benefit to waiting until after you turn 70 in terms of payments. (Part B of Medicare will be paid for out of your social security benefits which are income adjusted based on your last tax return).


Timely application is essential. Delays in applying, if age eligible, can result in delays in benefits and higher premiums. The "initial enrollment period" for Medicare consists of the three months before, the month of, and the three months after your 65th birthday. If you want your coverage to start the month you turn 65, sign up during that first three-month period. There are penalties if you delay signing up. Take the time to understand the parts of Medicare; Part A for hospital inpatient care, Part B for doctor services, Part C for Medicare Advantage, Part D for prescription drugs.


  • The Social Security and Medicare web sites are extremely helpful and interconnected which makes navigation much easier.
  • Each state has an advice/help line which is very useful.
  • Enrolling in Part B depends on your circumstances (If you have employer-based health insurance for example).
  • A prescription drug plan will require that you either enroll in an Advantage plan or in a Part D prescription plan (Medicare supplements are varied but do not include a Part D Plan).
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American Academy of Pediatrics