Lela and Michael

Lela and Michael, owners of the Anything and Everything store in Flager, CO., had almost given up on their dream to retire early. Health insurance costs for the couple – she’s 57 and he’s 60 – had crept up so high “it was the same as the rest or our bills combined.”

Even though they’ve stayed with the same insurance company since 1992, their costs have gone from $350 a month for a family of six, to $1,950 a month just for the couple. “There’s no way we could retire, we couldn’t pay the insurance even working. Our medical costs most years were cheaper than insurance.” She found a plan from their current insurance company for $1,200 a month. “That’s $700! Figure in the tax credit, it brought it down to about $835 a month. Even without the tax credit, it’s amazing.”

What does this mean for the couple? “We can semi-retire and slow down,” she says. While they’ll likely close the store, “Mike is a workaholic, he’ll still buy and trade and do stuff like that. But I’ve worked since I was 12. I’m really looking forward to being a housewife.”