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Best States To Retire

Summary: The best states to retire vary for each person. However, your best options will offer features and benefits that fit your lifestyle. We explore several categories, such as healthcare, finances, and lifestyle. Find the best fit for your golden years. Estimated Read Time: 42 mins

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Table of Contents:

  1. Where is the Best State To Retire?
  2. What Are the Best States To Retire Financially?
  3. Best States for 55+ Communities
  4. Best States To Retire for Weather
  5. Best States To Retire for Healthcare
  6. Best States for Veterans To Retire
  7. How To Find Your Best State To Retire for You

Where you live matters more than you may think when it comes time to enjoy your golden years, thus, when exploring the best states to retire, you must consider several factors, all of which can be a bit subjective.

Some focal points are universal when choosing a retirement location. Standard checkboxes include good healthcare, strong financial incentives, tolerable weather, and more. But what each of these categories means to you may differ from someone else.

After all, if you dream of relaxing in the beauty of the mountains, someone else’s ideal beachside community may not appeal as much to you. Still, you’ll want to remember specific factors, such as natural disasters, economic components, and more, for each state.

Asking yourself questions like the following can help you determine the best state for you to retire:

  • What do you want your lifestyle to look like in this new chapter?
  • What kind of retirement fits your budget?
  • Are you looking to stay close to the state where you currently reside?
  • How does the proximity of your loved ones weigh into your decision?

For most, the right choice can emerge from answering these questions. Below, we’re breaking down the best places to retire in the United States by the categories that matter most to retirees.

Where is the Best State To Retire?

The best states to retire overall

We understand that finding the best state to retire is not the same for everyone. To start thinking about this decision, you must first determine which aspects of life will be most important to you in retirement. Ultimately, the best state to retire will provide you with various attributes to suit your lifestyle.

While what makes a state an excellent choice can differ between retirees, there are still several notable factors that universally affect retirement, such as:

  • Your cost of living
  • Tax benefits
  • The cost of and ease of access to quality healthcare services
  • Community and lifestyle features
  • Weather and climate
  • Retiree-specific perks and benefits

Because there are so many different factors, we’ve broken down several vital categories that affect the everyday lives of retirees and consider how searching for these aspects can help you enjoy your golden years. You will notice that a few states appear multiple times across these lists. We consider these to be the best states to retire overall because they offer many desirable features important to future retirees:

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Florida

  • Tax benefits
  • Strong sense of community
  • Desirable weather
  • Reasonable healthcare expenses
  • Offers the largest number of Medicare Advantage plan options

Texas

  • Robust hospital systems, especially for cancer, with quality healthcare access overall
  • Attractive tax benefits
  • A large population of retirees with a variety of lifestyles
  • Many Medicare Advantage plans are available to help keep healthcare expenses low

Arizona

  • Although hot in some areas, there are positive weather features throughout the state, including colder options in the northern region
  • Home to one of the best 55+ communities in the U.S.
  • An especially great choice for property owners because of the state’s taxation laws on property and estates
  • Healthcare gets a noted boost from the establishment of the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix

While Florida, Texas, and Arizona top our list, for reasons you’ll see in greater detail below, many other states offer desirable features that may make them the best state in the U.S. to retire, depending on your wish list.

What Are the Best States To Retire Financially?

Best states to retire financially

Determining the best states to retire financially can be tricky. This is because finances differ from person to person, as livelihoods and regular expenses vary widely. For example:

  • If you want to keep your taxes low, you’ll need to understand how state taxes like income, sales, and property taxes will factor into your financial future, depending on your location choice.
  • On the other hand, if you’re looking to keep costs low due to a fixed income, a state with the lowest cost of living will likely interest you more.

The list could continue, but the sentiment remains the same. Retirees have varying financial concerns, so assessing and addressing yours is essential. That’s why we’ve broken down the best state to retire financially into the below subcategories.

Each considers a specific financial concern you may be weighing before deciding where to spend your retirement. Here are the best states to retire that help you stretch your money longer.

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Best State To Retire for Taxes: Delaware

Delaware leads the list of best states to retire for taxes. Delaware is the place to be if you’re looking to maximize your retirement savings by reducing your tax bill as much as possible.

When considering the best states to retire for taxes, you’ll need to remember that, aside from the federal level, taxes come in many shapes and forms:

  • Estate and inheritance taxes
  • Sales tax at state and local levels
  • Property tax
  • Income tax at state and local levels

Renters may not be as concerned about property taxes, but it is wise to be informed about all the different types of taxation you may encounter in new states. To avoid surprises and maximize your knowledge, it is always helpful to understand sales tax in a prospective new home before moving there.

If you continue working after retirement, you must still consider income tax. Similarly, it is essential for anyone leaving their loved ones an inheritance to understand there is no inheritance tax. Therefore, if you are a homeowner or wish to become one in the First State, Delaware provides a great opportunity in the form of taxes. Ranked seventh in the nation with a property tax rate of 0.57%1, you’ll save more on taxes than most American homeowners.

Overall, Delaware tops the list of the best states to retire for taxes, bringing several opportunities to cut your tax spending. These include the Diamond State’s graduated income tax rate. This means you’ll pay a rate that is between 2.2% and 5.55% if your income is under $60,000 and 6.60% if your income is $60,000+.

However, many other economic factors must be considered before deciding on the best states to retire tax-wise.

Best State To Retire on a Fixed Income: Mississippi

The average cost of living can vary significantly between states. You may even notice that prices across the board may heavily contrast in your state versus another state that you can drive to.

Mississippi is the best state to retire on a fixed income when considering the following criteria2:

  • The cost of groceries
  • Housing costs
  • Utility bills
  • Spending on transportation
  • Healthcare expenses

Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI)3 monthly payment amount limits in 2023 are $458, $914, or $1,371, depending on how you qualify. For seniors that rely on Social Security income to cover their expenses, this figure must stand up to their monthly costs in the face of rising costs due to ongoing inflation.

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The highlights for the Magnolia State are that it features both the lowest housing costs and the third-lowest grocery costs in the United States. Of course, its other expenses are also low, providing the perfect environment for those on a fixed income to cover their bills easier than in other parts of the country.Quote from Carter Seuthe

“When deciding which state to spend your retirement in, it’s incredibly important to assess the cost of living. The average pre-retiree can expect to spend 55%-80% of their current income in retirement, so it’s helpful for many to live somewhere that offers a low cost of living”, said Carter Seuthe, the CEO of Credit Summit4.

But keep in mind that there are still financial tradeoffs to expect. On the one hand, housing costs are lowest in the Hospitality State, but homeowners have better options regarding property taxes.

Though far from the highest, the property tax rate of 0.81% ranks Mississippi 18th in the nation. Still, you’ll find that Mississippi is arguably the least expensive state to retire and buy a house, considering the median home values are consistently some of the lowest, averaging $145,6005.

On the other hand, Mississippi has one of the highest statewide sales tax rates5, at 7%. Thus, everyday transactions – while priced lower than in many other states – can add to a bit of sticker shock from elevated prices due to taxation.

Overall Best State To Retire Financially: Michigan

You can narrow down your list once you consider the factors that affect your financial health – and what is important to you. Based on our data, we find that Michigan is the overall best state to retire financially. You’ll want to make sure you have proper winter clothing available, but Michigan provides an excellent option overall.

When considering the Cost of Living Index from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) combined with property and sales tax rates residents of the Wolverine State face, Michigan comes out on top6.

C2ER7 considers many metrics to determine residents’ living costs, including housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation, and various goods and services. The calculations also include a composite index.

Recognized as the authoritative metric for judging the overall cost of living, C2ER is a complex measure of what it costs to live in an area. The Great Lake State is easier on the wallet of retirees featuring many attractive financial incentives:

  • Michigan has a 4.25% state income tax rate, which was lowered to 4.05% for 20238 due to a spike in the state’s revenue. However, this rate may return to a higher rate after 2023. Unfortunately, the average effective property tax rate is 1.32%9 – which is above the national average – but the state makes up for it with other offerings.
  • The median home value in Michigan is only $199,1005. This ranks Water Winter Wonderland as one of the most affordable states in which to purchase a home.
  • Michigan has the lowest healthcare costs in the nation10, adding to its attractiveness as one of the best states to retire.
  • Second only to Texas for the lowest grocery costs in the U.S.2

The financial perks of Michigan make it not only an attractive option but a practical solution when looking for a home during retirement. Plus, there are non-monetary perks to living near the Great Lakes.

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Ranked 42nd in natural disasters11, you’ll encounter frigid temperatures during winter, but you won’t have to deal with some of the extreme, disastrous weather conditions you may need to face in other states.

Michigan offers urban and rural locales that provide retirees with various choices for their budgets and lifestyles. However, the affordability of living within the state is leading the way, relieving pressure on finances and representing the 10th largest 65+ population in the nation by a percentage12.

Best States for 55+ Communities

Best states for 55+ communities

Even if you’re not an extrovert, having a network of peers within your community is always comforting. Finding the best states for 55+ communities means finding a place with options, active investment into the community for retirees, and a wealth of attractive features.

We found that Florida, California, and Texas were the best states for 55+ communities for several reasons:

  • All of the top three states on our list rank as the states with the highest older populations, according to the U.S. Census12.
  • Each state offers its own unique opportunities while still providing some of the most sought-after communities in which to reside.
  • Florida, California, and Texas rank 1st, 2nd, and 3rd for the most Medicare Advantage plans13 available in the United States.
  • If you’re looking to escape the cold, each state offers ample opportunity to do so.

The bottom line is if you’re looking to socialize and enjoy amenities focused on Americans aged 55 years or older, these are the best places for you. We’re breaking down each state with the most sought-after communities below.

Florida

The Sunshine State has many attributes that make it one of the best states to retire, and you’ll find no shortage of 55+ communities. From permanent residents to snowbirds, you’ll meet peers from all walks of life with whom to share this slice of paradise.

One of the most attractive things about Florida is that you can find many top-rated examples of communities catering to the 55+ crowd. No matter what kind of lifestyle you lead or price range you’re looking for, you’ll find many options available:

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The Villages

Location: Central Florida (The Villages, FL; About a 1-hour drive from Orlando, FL)
Median Home Value14: $293,200

Of the many retirement communities in Florida, none are as well-known as The Villages15, and this is not by mistake. Here are just some of the highlights you can find as one of the 81,000+ residents calling these neighborhoods home:

  • Over 3,000 activities and clubs are available, targeting various interests and hobbies.
  • There are also 42 golf courses exclusive to residents.
  • Its proximity is ideal for many different access points. This includes numerous beaches on both coasts, shopping opportunities, cruise ship ports of call, theme parks, and other notable Florida attractions.
  • You can arrive at top destinations quickly, such as Ocala in 37 minutes, Orlando in an hour, and Daytona Beach in under two hours.
  • Shopping and entertainment abound, but Town Squares kick things up a notch if you’re seeking social hubs. From finding essentials to making new friends, you’ll find it all at the Spanish Springs Town Square and Lake Sumter Landing Market Square.
  • Events of all sorts are the norm. You can learn how to ballroom dance one weekend, take a guided kayaking tour the next, and fill the week with a wealth of entertainment options, such as live music.

On Top of the World (OTOW)

Location: Ocala, FL
Median Home Value16: $197,200

Since 1947, On Top of the World17 has been a leading community for Floridians 55 years and older. You’ll find many recreational opportunities, such as pickleball, golf, archery, and much more.

But a particularly unique feature of the OTOW community revolves around its commitment to constructing its homes. This means crafting a community that is focused not only on the best construction techniques available but energy-efficient features.

Continue your education at the Master the Possibilities (MTP) Education Center, become a member of the R/C Flyers Club, dine at one of the many community eateries, socialize at one of the various social hubs, and much, much more.

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Sun City Center

Location: Sun City Center, FL (About a half-hour drive from Tampa, FL)
Median Home Value18: $212,300

Like the other communities on our list, Sun City Center is filled with great opportunities to get involved in activities with your neighbors with a wide range of interests. This community offers clubs, events, recreational areas, games, and much more.

But arguably, what sets Sun City Center apart is its dedication to the veteran community19. You’ll find a strong sense of community even if you’ve never served, but those who are part of the military community will notice efforts to accommodate.

This means finding a variety of military-centric activities and organizations, which include:

  • American Legion Post 246 is a staple within the community.
  • The Silver Osprey Squadron, #64 of the Association of Naval Aviation, hosts six luncheons throughout the year.
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 110 calls the community home.
  • A chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) within the community is responsible for the yearly Memorial Day Ceremony.
  • The Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) gives back to the community at large through efforts both in the immediate community and for residents at large. This includes sending local students to the Tallahassee Youth Leadership Conference (YLC).

Regardless of the community you enjoy, it’s clear that there are plenty of great options available to anyone 55+. But Florida’s features extend far beyond simply offering strong senior-centric communities:

  • Manageable property taxes and the lack of income tax means less worrying about money and more about making the most out of your golden years.
  • Stunning beaches, the sprawling Everglades, and several national forests are just some of the natural beauty found in Florida.
  • The mix of rural and city amenities provides balance and opportunities for residents.
  • There are more Medicare Advantage plans in Florida (369 in 2023) than anywhere else in the country. Featuring an average monthly premium that falls on the lower end of the scale, at $9.41, you have options for maintaining your healthcare expenses.

David Bakke, a Financial Expert at DollarSanity20, weighs in on how he helped his mother choose Florida as the best state for her retirement:

“My family started out in Ohio. My father died a few years back. So, at that point, I went to work with my mom on where to retire. We took into account a variety of factors, such as healthcare, cost of living, safety, and taxes. At the end of the day, we chose Florida, and she has been comfortably retired there ever since.”

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California

As one of the most diverse regions in the country, it’s no wonder that California ranks as one of the best places to retire in the United States. Home to the third-largest population of 55+ residents, you’ll find many different communities throughout the state.

Depending on your budget and lifestyle, you’ll find that different parts of the state offer similar amenities but varying experiences. Thus, we’re looking high and low on our list. Get to know some of the best communities for 55+ that make the Golden State perfect for your golden years.

Laguna Woods Village

Location: Laguna Woods, CA (About a 1 hour and 15-minute drive from Los Angeles, CA)
Median Home Value21: $327,000

Living in the O.C. isn’t always the cheapest. Housing can easily cost over $1 million for homeowners, but the residents of Laguna Woods Village22 get a slice of paradise for a discount.

Not only is housing affordable, but there are several amenities that continue to add value to the 55+ community of Laguna Woods Village:

  • A 10-minute drive will take you to the iconic Laguna Beach.
  • The illustrious Laguna Woods Golf Club continues to be a significant draw among enthusiasts of the sport and novices alike.
  • Within the community, there are several living options through quality neighborhoods. Third, Laguna Hills provides you with the perfect view of the golf course, The Towers is a relaxing high-rise, and United Laguna Woods delivers the area’s natural beauty.
  • A variety of clubs gather over shared passions and host events throughout the year.
  • A great mix of local favorites and national chain stores and restaurants provide residents with ample shopping and dining options.

Residents enjoy many activities ranging from equestrianism to educational classes, recreation, and more. Spread over 2,100 acres, it is clear to see why this award-winning development continues to be a favorite among the 55+ crowd.

Sun City Lincoln Hills

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Location: Lincoln, CA (About a half-hour drive from Sacramento, CA)
Median Home Value23: $494,400

Nestled just over 30 miles northeast of downtown Sacramento is the 55+ community of Sun City Lincoln Hills24. If you’re not looking to embrace the SoCal lifestyle but still enjoy moderate, consistent weather, a host of activities, and proximity to both nature and modern amenities, this community is for you.

Known for its recreation, a total of 19 trails encompassing 27 miles can be found throughout the property. Further, it is near the Sports Complex – two 18-hole championship courses, bocce courts, and pickleball courts.

Residents have access to multiple social centers, including the Orchard Creek Lodge and Kilaga Springs Lodge. Together, these provide amenities for swimming, a sports bar, billiards, exercise equipment, and multiple activity rooms to enjoy your favorite hobbies or find a new passion.

Within a ten-mile radius, you’ll find everything you need. This means quick access to healthcare, shopping, essentials, banking, dining, lodging, and other institutions necessary for everyday life.

There is no shortage of entertainment, including the beloved annual Summer Amphitheater Concert Series. Considering there are more than 70 clubs available, you’ll find things you love to do and maximize your golden years as a resident.

Rossmoor

Location: Walnut Creek, CA (About a 1-hour drive from San Francisco, CA)
Median Home Value25: $1,100,600

Outside of the hustle and bustle of San Francisco is the neighborhood of Rossmoor26 in Walnut Creek, CA. Here you’ll find a gated community featuring 6,700 residential units consisting of single-family homes, co-ops, condos, and more. As one of the best 55+ communities to retire in California, you’ll find several modern amenities and a sense of community that is both comforting and dignified. Some of the core features include:

  • The Creekside Clubhouse – a hub for golfers offering 27 holes of NCGA-rated golf on 18-hole and 9-hole courses, along with multiple practice greens, a driving range, and a sand/pitch area for practicing.
  • A dog park, tennis courts, bocce courts, swimming pools, and fitness centers keep you moving.
  • Five clubhouses and a dedicated event center, along with several eateries in the community.
  • Neighborhood essentials such as shops, a pharmacy, a salon, banking, a post office, and other businesses and healthcare facilities.

Featuring hundreds of clubs, you’re bound to find one that matches your interest. Overall, while housing costs a bit more than the other 55+ communities on our list, you’ll notice that you really do get what you pay for here.

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Texas

Natural beauty, mouthwatering BBQ, and southern hospitality are just some of the many attributes that continue to attract the development of 55+ communities in Texas. The Lone Star State has plenty of attractive qualities for those looking to retire, with the third-highest senior population12, and a willingness to develop quality communities for its residents.

As the second largest land mass that can call itself a state, it’s safe to say that there are many different areas in which retirees can enjoy their golden years. However, an overwhelming majority of Texans can be found throughout the Coastal Plain region, featuring notable cities including Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Laredo, and Corpus Christi.

Therefore, we’ll be focusing on the best 55+ communities within this region. You’ll see that the Lone Star State has ample options to fit anyone’s lifestyle, interests, and budget.

Sun City Texas

Location: Georgetown, TX (About a 40-minute drive from Austin, TX)
Median Home Value27: $304,000

Hill Country is one of the most coveted locales in Texas. Featuring the natural beauty of the state, and access to both some of the hottest urban hubs and highlights of nature, if you’re going to find yourself deep in the Heart of Texas, this is the place to be.

Sun City Texas28 is found in an Austin suburb known as Georgetown that continues to grow. It’s here that residents 55+ will enjoy many great amenities with comparatively affordable housing and ample benefits:

  • Small-town charm, big-city amenities, and access to the beauty of Hill Country mean you’ll get the best of everything.
  • Whether you’re looking to enjoy one of the many wineries or breweries, live it up big in the city, or simply pass the time relaxing in quiet, there are ample opportunities all around you.
  • The Cowen Creek Golf Club, Legacy Hills Golf Club, and White Wing Golf Club make the community a golfer’s dream.
  • Recreation is a key amenity, and no matter what you enjoy, you’ll find it here. Bocce courts, pickleball courts, six swimming pools, softball, disc golf, three fitness centers, and nearly 18 miles of hiking trails are only the beginning.
  • There are several social hubs and community centers for activities and events that take place within the neighborhood.
  • Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you don’t need a vacation from time to time. Sun City Texas will help you book trips near, far, and everywhere in between when you feel like getting away.
  • Local businesses ranging from eateries to healthcare essentials abound throughout the community. You won’t have to go far to run errands.

There are fishing ponds, the Georgetown-Williamson County Veterans Memorial Plaza, a community library, and so much more. Sun City Texas continues to be a top choice for retirees 55+ because it continues to set the standard for what a retirement community should be.

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Robson Ranch Texas

Location: Denton, TX (About a 50-minute drive from Dallas, TX)
Median Home Value29: $400,000-$1,000,000+

You can find Robson Ranch, Texas, north of Fort Worth, in a suburb known as Denton. This is an excellent advantage for the 55+ crowd because it allows for the right balance of quiet, suburban living without forgoing the access and benefits of big city life.

One of the great features of the community is that there are several different home options available depending on your budget. Still, you’re never going to lack the one feature all retirees deserve: luxury. This helps create many solutions for your future sanctuary.

However, the luxury doesn’t just start and end in your home – you’re surrounded by it. Some of these top-of-the-line features and amenities adorn the property, only adding to its appeal:

  • You can be as social as you’d like. Residents respect privacy, but if you’re looking for a social hub, you’ll find plenty, including clubs and activities across a wide range of interests.
  • There are ample ways to stay active. If you’re not taking a dip in the resort-style pool, you’ll likely be enjoying a game of pickleball, hitting the links at the Wildhorse Golf Club, or working up a sweat at the community fitness center.
  • Looking to grab a quick bite or enjoy a drink or two? The Wildhorse Grill, Lounge & Bar is on-site, offering a delicious menu and outstanding service.

Unlike many other portions of Texas, you can expect to experience all four seasons while living in Denton, Texas. However, while snow may occur, it’s still comparatively rare compared to many states. In other words, if you’re looking to escape some of the heat but still enjoy Texas living, Robson Ranch, Texas, may be the place for you.

Kissing Tree

Location: San Marcos, TX (About a 35-minute drive from Austin, TX)
Median Home Value30: $201,200

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Location matters when it comes to where you plant roots; at Kissing Tree31, it doesn’t get any better. Positioned between San Antonio and Austin, yet close enough for a day trip to Houston, you’ll have access to many of Texas’s largest cities while still enjoying Hill Country.

Kissing Tree is a gated neighborhood with a strong sense of community, as evidenced by its fantastic amenity offerings:

  • Independence Hall is a social hub that can be used for catching up on your latest novel, reconnecting with friends over a beverage, getting a game of pickleball in, or simply relaxing at the resort-style pool.
  • Featuring an 18-hole, semi-private golf course, you’ll be able to perfect your game whenever you like. There is also a pro shop, chipping and driving ranges, a putting course, and more.
  • Get moving on 18 miles of trails throughout Hill Country, local parks, the community fitness center, or the indoor lap pool.
  • There are several classes available, groups to join (known as “tribes”), over 100 activities planned each month, and many other events that provide you with ample options to enjoy your surroundings.

San Marcos is known for many things. This includes everything from the many rivers and waterways to discounted outlet malls with deals you can’t beat. No matter what piques your interest, Kissing Tree continues to deliver an ideal 55+ community for retirees from all walks of life to enjoy.

Best States To Retire for Weather

Best states to retire for weather

Determining the best weather states to retire is a more subjective endeavor than gauging the financial prospects of a state. While fundamental metrics directly help determine which state will best fit your budget, weather preferences are more personal. Some people love the cold and the beauty of the snow, whereas others understand how miserable heat can make you feel and don’t mind a little shoveling for a few months.

Ultimately, you’re going to need to assess your own personal preferences before determining the best state to retire based on weather conditions. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Winter months can make living conditions difficult physically for seniors in colder states. While this is true for warmer states facing blistering heat, the requirement of shoveling your driveway after it snows is a significant negative factor for many seniors.
  • Retirement is about you and your passions. This means that even if you aren’t an avid outdoors person, chances are, you’ll thrive more when the sun is out as opposed to when it is rainy.
  • Budgeting during the holidays is always going to be quite the task, but when you’re paying high energy bills to stay warm, it can be an even more daunting task to complete.
  • Lastly, extreme weather needs to be considered. This doesn’t only refer to newsworthy storms making for sensational headlines but also practical, more common weather events, including severe thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes.

Understanding the weather patterns of the state you retire in is essential for many reasons. Not only could you be stuck and unable to participate in the activities you love during your golden years, but you must also consider utility bills, the cost of maintaining your property, and safety factors. All these factors are affected by the weather.

We’re leaning on the warmer side of things to assess what would be classified as “good” weather for our list. This means evaluating average temperature data, which states have the most sunlight, lowest natural disaster risk, and more. Here are the top three best states to retire in based on weather conditions.

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Arizona

Annual Inches of Precipitation32: 12.61”
Most Federally Declared Natural Disasters Since 195311: 19th

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Yes, Arizona is going to bring some heat during the summer months. But the Grand Canyon State is much more than its desert region, and the Mountain West’s arid climate means the temperature gauge may rise, but thankfully, you won’t be dealing with sweltering humidity.

  • As the fourth driest state in the country, don’t anticipate too many days that will rain on your parade.
  • Tucson, Mesa, and Phoenix may all harbor extremely hot temperatures, but if you’re looking for cooler options, they are available. For example, both Sedona and Flagstaff offer comfortable living in robust communities that aren’t as extreme on either the cold or hot side of the scales.
  • Arizona does rank 19th in natural disasters, but this number (68) pales mightily to the top five states, where each has reached well over 100 incidents.

Keep in mind that where you live is going to dictate the type of weather you’ll experience within the state. This means that if you live in a more arid, desert region, flash floods, mudslides, dust storms (haboobs), and the potential of hailstorms are all within the realm of possibility.

On the other hand, those living in the northern portion of the state can experience more rain, thunderstorms, and even snowy conditions during winter months.

It’s also worth noting that the weather isn’t the only benefit of moving to Arizona. The state is well known for its many 55+ communities, which is no accident. Places such as Sun City Arizona, Pebblecreek in Goodyear, AZ, and Fountain of the Sun in Mesa, AZ, are proof of retirees enjoying the sunshine.

Below average property tax rates33 (0.51%) with the possibility to defer them all together at age 70 and the absence of estate and inheritance taxes continue to draw positive marks with residents. Arizona is also one of the best states to retire on Social Security as benefits aren’t taxed on the state level. Finally, the Mayo Clinic is an attractive boost to its healthcare offerings.

Hawaii

Annual Inches of Precipitation34: 25”-30”
Most Federally Declared Natural Disasters Since 195311: 39th

If you’re looking for the best state to retire for weather, a place nicknamed Paradise seems to be a fitting candidate for the designation. In Hawaii, you’ll be saying “aloha” to stunning views from the mountains above to the tropical rainforests within and the world-class beaches all around you.

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In this setting, you’ll be enjoying plenty of sunny vibes because of the state’s positioning to the Tropic of Cancer. This provides consistently comfortable weather all year long. But rain is simply part of the equation.

Several states have more annual rainfall, but if you’re looking for drier climates, remember that they’re called rainforests for a reason. The average listed above can drastically change depending on which island on which you choose to reside, the time of year, and where you are on said island.

This is because of the diverse, unique makeup of Hawaii’s archipelago. The average above is technically referring to the rainfall throughout the ocean region. Considering the mountains Hawaii is home to and other unique landscape features, just be prepared to take the rainy days with the sunshine.

Comparatively speaking, Hawaiians also deal with more volcanic activity than most of the United States. There are several active volcanos, including Kilauea, designated as the highest-risk volcano in the U.S.35, along with Mauna Loa, ranked 16th.

Furthermore, there is also the threat of earthquakes, flooding, and mudslides, along with the rare but relevant threat of hurricanes between June 1 and November 30.

However, while natural disasters may feel a bit “doom and gloom,” don’t worry too much. Ranked 39th for natural disaster occurrences, the Aloha State’s weather is much more predictable than your imagination may lead you to believe. If you’re looking for a range of seasons, Hawaii isn’t for you, but if good vibes and tropical weather suit you, you will be hard-pressed to find a better location.

Florida

Annual Inches of Precipitation32: 55.93”
Most Federally Declared Natural Disasters Since 195311: 5th

How does a state nicknamed the Sunshine State rank 7th overall for most federally declared natural disasters, with nearly 56” of rainfall on average? For the answer, we’ve got to look a bit deeper at the factors making up Florida’s climate:

  • Though there are several different states that are much larger than Florida, don’t underestimate the vast differences in the geographic makeup of the state.
  • Featuring a subtropical climate, expect humid, sunny days but plenty of rain during the appropriate seasons.
  • Speaking of seasons, you’ll want to be aware of hurricane season, which affects the state between June 1 and November 30. Rain and extreme weather are a threat, as no state deals with hurricanes more than Florida.

How much rain you get and when you get it is going to vary depending on where you live. Similarly, the risks that come with hurricane season will vary by location.

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But if you’re looking to escape the cold and still enjoy plenty of sunshine, Florida’s reputation as one of the best states to retire is built on many pillars, with the warm weather being one of them.

Best States To Retire for Healthcare

best states to retire for healthcare

Taking care of yourself after retirement is crucial. It’s important to consider the healthcare in any state when looking to enjoy your golden years. The best states to retire for healthcare are going to help you keep costs low and help you gain access to the services you deserve.

If you are prone to health issues, you may want to put more emphasis on the states that can provide the best hospital options and access to outpatient services. But healthcare costs and accessibility are essential for anyone when considering the best states to retire.

You’ll want to ensure that the state you retire in is a great option for coverage as well as healthcare facilities. For many retirees, Medicare benefits are going to play a major role in covering the costs of healthcare services.

While Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B) are a program run by the federal government for healthcare benefits, there are still leftover costs that can persist. You’ll still have to pay out of pocket if you rely on these benefits alone.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans are supplemental coverage to help you pay for the costs Original Medicare leaves, so that you don’t have to cover these expenses out-of-pocket. But a Medicare Advantage plan may be a better option for covering your expenses, depending on many personal factors.

Where you live – even within your state – will determine which Medicare Advantage plans are available to you, and while the only way to know which exact plan options are available is to look within the county in which you’re residing, states with more options give you a better chance at being covered for the healthcare services you need.

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Below is a list of the states with the most Medicare Advantage plans36 available according to KFF data in 2022:

  1. Florida: 369
  2. California: 326
  3. Texas: 221
  4. New York: 186
  5. Pennsylvania: 184
  6. Ohio: 147
  7. Illinois: 146
  8. Washington: 140
  9. Georgia: 110
  10. Indiana: 108

To determine the best states to retire for healthcare, we had to take into consideration a variety of metrics:

  • The number of hospitals available in a state.
  • The number of those hospitals that are highly rated.
  • Access to healthcare coverage.
  • The amount you’ll pay for healthcare.
  • Your access to quality mental healthcare.

In addition to these metrics, we’re also looking at the download speeds of each state, as they may play a role in affecting telehealth services. Additionally, we’re also highlighting specialties for each state may be known for regarding healthcare.
There is no singular answer to the best state to retire for healthcare because everyone’s healthcare and budget needs are different. However, by assessing these key factors, you can compare some of the top healthcare options in the country to find a state that best fits your personal needs. Here’s how our top three break down.

Texas

Number of Hospitals37: 517 (ranked 1st)
Number of CMS 5-Star Hospitals38: 31
Medicare Advantage Plans36: 331 (tied for 3rd)
Healthcare Spending per Capita39: $8,406 (ranked 47th)
Mental Healthcare40: 44th

Considering Texas has the second-largest population in the U.S., it should come as no surprise that the Lone Star State has so many hospitals. But it’s also worth noting that Texans experience some of the lowest healthcare costs in the nation while also receiving some of the most illustrious Medicare Advantage plan options available.

But Texas is huge. There are many small towns that are far away from…well, anything. Therefore, while there are more hospitals in the land of Tex-Mex cuisine, it’s important to understand that you’ll have better access to healthcare if you’re living in an urban area as opposed to a more rural setting.

Texas also ranks as one of the states with the highest Internet download speeds, featuring an average of 133.7 Mbps41. While this is great news for streaming your favorite shows or checking the information online, it’s also an essential factor for healthcare as more and more telehealth options become available.

One notable flaw in the healthcare system for Texas is a lack of overall mental healthcare resources. In fact, Texans ranked dead last (51st) in terms of access to mental healthcare resources. But despite this flaw, we still pick Texas as the best state to retire for healthcare.

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You’ll find many different urgent care centers, outpatient services, and other typical healthcare facilities throughout the state, but Texas is well known for its commitment to fighting the battle against cancer. MD Anderson Cancer Center is widely regarded as one of the top facilities – if not the top facility – for treating cancer in the United States.

The key consideration for retirees is what their most pressing concern is – as it would be for anyone else. If you’re dealing with cancer or have an elevated risk, Texas is a no-brainer. But if you are struggling with your mental health, there’s no need to worry. There are other states that better help address this need.

Minnesota

Number of Hospitals37: 123 (ranked 15th)
Number of CMS 5-Star Hospitals38: 13
Medicare Advantage Plans36: 73 (tied 21st)
Healthcare Spending per Capita39: $10,846 (ranked 35th)
Mental Healthcare40: 10th

The Land of 10,000 Lakes is also home to some of the highest quality healthcare in the entire United States. Unlike Texas, Minnesota is also delivering quality healthcare for mental illnesses along with physical ailments.

Minnesota isn’t the largest state by size or population. The largest states must compensate for this fact with more extensive hospital networks, but that doesn’t always tell the full story. You’ll also need to gain access to the beds available in hospitals, or the number of facilities can be irrelevant.

Residents of the North Star State can rest easy, and we mean that literally, as both the accessibility and overall quality of healthcare in Minnesota remain some of the best in the nation. This extends from physical healthcare to mental health as well. Minnesotans have better access to mental health facilities than most of the country, ranking 5th in the nation.

If you’re looking for telehealth services, they are available. However, Internet speeds take a hit, averaging 96.6 Mbps41. Such is the trend for states in the Midwest, as most of the fastest connections can be found where tech hubs are located or on the East Coast.

Minnesota is also known for the highly-rated Mayo Clinic, which can be found in Rochester, MN. There are several important healthcare services in which the hospital continues to be an innovator, most notably cancer. The facilities and staff are recognized as some of the best in the country.

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The major drawback, however, is that healthcare costs tend to rise above the national average in Minnesota. Considering these hefty costs can already be a burden, this is an important consideration for retirees looking to stick to a budget.

But there are many options available, especially for those who qualify for Medicare. Not only are there Original Medicare benefits that can help cover your healthcare costs, but Medicare Supplement plans will help with leftover expenses that may occur when receiving healthcare. However, it’s important to note that Medicare Supplement plans in Minnesota work a bit differently.

They are even called different names than you’ll find in other states. The Basic plan and the Extended Basic plan offer two different levels of coverage, with the Extended Basic plan offering a higher level of benefits. Most notably, the Extended Basic plan will cover your Medicare Part A and Part B deductibles, along with twenty extra das when using a skilled nursing facility.

Furthermore, Minnesota ranks a little higher than the middle of the pack in terms of the number of Medicare Advantage plans available in the state. This means that even if a Medigap plan isn’t your best option, there are ample Medicare Advantage choices available to help you mitigate your healthcare expenses.

Connecticut

Number of Hospitals37: 31 (ranked 43rd)
Number of CMS 5-Star Hospitals38: 3
Medicare Advantage Plans36: 40 (ranked 38th)
Healthcare Spending per Capita39: $12,489 (ranked 43rd)
Mental Healthcare40: ranked 4th

Connecticut continues to prove itself as one of the best states to retire for healthcare because of its ability to provide exceptional hospital care, top-quality mental health services, and affordable coverage to help pay for medical attention.

According to the star ratings provided by CMS, Connecticut is home to three 5-star hospital facilities, including Greenwich Hospital Association, Sharon Hospital, and Stamford Hospital. Access to healthcare is available for residents of the Constitution State, and the quality is exceptional.

This spills over into telehealth as well as the East Coast is known for dominating the top download speeds in the United States. Featuring an average download speed of 112.6 Mbps41, you’ll have strong, fast Internet connections that can help you meet your healthcare needs virtually.

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It’s not fair to talk about healthcare without mentioning costs, and while the healthcare is great, its price is a bit steeper than in most states. There are also fewer Medicare Advantage plans available, meaning fewer options for covering your healthcare. But it’s important to look a bit further than the surface:

  • While Connecticut doesn’t have the deepest roster of Medicare Advantage plans, it’s important to remember that these plans are available based on your county.
  • Considering there are only eight counties in CT – the fourth fewest of all the states –there is not as much of a need for an abundance of plans as in states that must accommodate a more significant number of counties.

Therefore, retirees still have plenty of options available through Medicare, and that’s before we consider Medigap plans. For many, Medicare Supplement plans can be a better option, rendering the amount of Medicare Advantage plans irrelevant as you can only enroll in one or the other at a time.

Residents of Connecticut also benefit from year-round enrollment for Medicare Supplement plans. Therefore, you can switch Medicare Supplement plans in Connecticut whenever you’d like and not have to undergo medical underwriting before enrollment.

The combination of quality physical and mental healthcare, along with the ability to overcome rising healthcare costs through affordable coverage, is why we continue to see Connecticut considered one of the best states to retire for healthcare.

Best States for Veterans To Retire

Best states to retire for veterans
Retirement works a bit differently for some, and a prime example is the military community. Unfortunately, this nation’s heroes must often put their bodies in harm’s way, which can lead to adverse health effects.The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has criteria for eligibility based on a rating system for determining a veteran’s disability level42. Veterans with a 100% disability status can qualify for specific benefits, including compensation from the VA, Supplemental Security Income (SSI)3, and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Healthcare is important for everyone, but when determining the best states for 100% disabled veterans to retire, it can be paramount. Fully disabled veterans should look at states with affordable healthcare and access to VA healthcare facilities.It’s important to note that while veterans that receive a 100% disability rating from the VA may qualify for Medicare, there are some additional requirements. This includes:

  • Qualifying for SSDI under 65 and collecting benefits for at least 24 months.
  • Holding a U.S. citizenship or legal residency for at least five years.

Even with a 100% disabled veteran rating, you still don’t automatically qualify for SSDI benefits and must apply and be approved. But if you obtain SSDI and are on it for at least 24 months, Medicare benefits can become yours regardless of age.

However, even if you don’t have a 100% disability rating, veterans looking to spend their retirement in the best state possible will want to assess accessibility to healthcare, the sense of community from fellow veterans, the ability to save on taxes, and more, these are the best states for veterans to retire while making sure they are taken care of.

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Wyoming

VA Facilities per 100,000 veterans43: ranked 1st
Percentage of the Population are Veterans12: 9.7% (ranked 1st)
State Income Tax: No

The Equality State has much to offer any of its residents, but it is a desirable option for veterans, specifically. On top of having some of the most picturesque senses that scream classic Americana, you won’t be in the highest-populated state, but you’re likely to find other veterans who have served their country just like you.

There are also 17 VA healthcare facilities available throughout Big Wyoming, but your access is likely. This is because the Cowboy State has the best facility-to-veteran ratio in the United States.

If the beautiful countryside, strong military community, and access to VA healthcare aren’t enough to prove that Wyoming is the best state for veterans to retire, what about its effect on your savings?

Wyoming is one of the most tax-friendly states for retirees44, including the lack of an income tax. Considering military retirement pay can be taxed as income, this is an excellent break for anyone looking to maximize the benefits they’ve served to earn.

Veteran-specific benefits45 are also available to Wyoming residents that can help with home or vehicle ownership. If you meet the criteria and have been a state resident for at least three years, you can enjoy a $3,000 tax exemption on your property. If it’s not used for your property, you can use it for your vehicle’s licensing fee.

To qualify, you must meet at least one of these specific guidelines:

  • You’ve served in either World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War.
  • You’ve earned the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or an equal accolade while serving overseas in armed combat.
  • You have a compensable service-connected VA disability rating.
  • You’re the surviving spouse of a veteran who qualifies for these benefits and has never remarried.

South Dakota

VA Facilities per 100,000 veterans44: ranked 4th
Percentage of the Population are Veterans12: 8.1% (tied 6th)
State Income Tax: No

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Veterans love retiring in South Dakota, and some reasons may surprise you. Primarily, this state allows many to follow their passion in retirement.

South Dakota is one of the most business-friendly states in the country and features no corporate income tax. Considering almost 2 million businesses46 throughout the U.S. are veteran-owned, this can be an attractive prospect for those looking to start their own endeavors through entrepreneurship.

But several additional benefits have veterans47 falling in love with the Mount Rushmore State:

  • There is no state income tax, meaning you’ll retain more of your benefits.
  • Healthcare access is available through 14 VA facilities, including 4 VA hospitals.
  • Deadwood, South Dakota, is a noted hotspot that allows gambling/gaming opportunities for entertainment.
  • Veterans who are paraplegic and their surviving spouses can enjoy full tax exceptions for property tax on qualifying properties.
  • Partial property tax exemptions are also available for qualifying disabled veterans with properties that fit the criteria. This can be up to $150,000.

In addition to these tremendous benefits, the state’s natural beauty provides retirees ample opportunities to reconnect with nature and enjoy small-town living. Veterans can also enjoy several urban hubs with modern amenities for the best of both worlds.

Virginia

VA Facilities per 100,000 veterans44: ranked 1st
Percentage of the Population are Veterans12: 9.7% (ranked 1st)
State Income Tax: Yes

In this world, there are introverts, and there are extroverts. For veterans seeking a sense of community, Virginia can’t be beaten. Virginia is home to a higher percentage of veterans than any state, which makes sense considering the state’s physical size and the country’s second-largest number of military bases.

Old Dominion features a diverse landscape and offers all four seasons. If you want to enjoy the beauty of the mountains or live the beach life, Virginia offers many options for both.

You’ll need to be prepared to deal with state income taxes which range between 2% and 5.75% depending on your income. However, some military benefits can help you save more of your eligible retirement benefits if you are 55 or older.

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The Military Benefits Subtraction or Military Retirement Subtraction48 allows reductions on your federal income tax return depending on the year you are filing. This will increase until 2025 as follows:

  • $20,000 in 2023
  • $30,000 in 2024
  • $40,000 in 2025

There is also the Disability Income Subtraction which can help you reduce your tax burden further.

But the benefits for Virginia veterans49 can range through various lifestyles and perks. Here are some of the highlights that retirees can take advantage of:

  • Disabled veterans can enjoy discounted or free licenses for hunting, trapping, and fishing that are determined via VA disability rating.
  • If you have a 100% VA disability rating, you can enjoy a free pass to access the 41 Virginia State Parks throughout the state.
  • Multiple Veteran Care Centers and cemeteries are available.

You’ll have your choice of lifestyle, tax benefits, and a strong community, among many other attractive perks. Overall, Virginia is one of the best states to retire if you’re a veteran.

How To Find Your Best State To Retire for You

Though plenty of options are available when searching for the best states to retire, it’s about finding the right one for you. You’ll need to assess your wants and needs and pick a realistic destination that fits your budget.

Finding a place to live out your golden years will take into consideration more factors than are on this list. Nevertheless, a comprehensive assessment of your needs will help you better determine the best states to retire. Enjoy your best years and the fruits of your labor, taking in everything life has to offer!

Methodology: Here at MedicareFAQ, we pride ourselves on delivering accurate information for our readers and clients to make informed decisions. To determine the best states to retire in the U.S., we looked at several different factors as organized above, such as the cost of living, healthcare, senior communities, and more. Furthermore, our data comes from some of the most reputable sources that have been compiled through surveys, major publications, scientific resources, think tanks, research centers, and the government, as evidenced below.

Sources:

      1. Property Taxes By State: A Comparative Look At The Highest To Lowest States, Rocket Mortgage. May 2023.
      2. Cost of Living Data Series, MERIC. Accessed May 2023.
      3. SSI Federal Payment Amounts For 2023, SSA. Accessed May 2023.
      4. Credit Summit CEO Carter Seuthe. Accessed May 2023.
      5. Median Housing Value, U.S. Census. Accessed May 2023.
      6. Mississippi Sales and Use Taxes, Department of Revenue State of Mississippi. Accessed May 2023.
      7. The best and worst states for retirement 2022, Bankrate. Accessed April 2023.
      8. Frequently Asked Questions, C2ER. Accessed May 2023.
      9. Notice: Income Tax Rate of Individuals and Fiduciaries Reduced to 4.05% For The 2023 Tax Year, Department of Treasury – State of Michigan. Accessed May 2023.
      10. Michigan Property Tax Calculator, SmartAsset. Accessed May 2023.
      11. Most and Least Expensive States for Health Care, Ranked, Forbes. Accessed May 2023.
      12. 65+ Population Per State, U.S. Census. Accessed May 2023.
      13. Medicare Advantage Plans by Plan Type, KFF. Accessed May 2023.
      14. QuickFacts The Villages CDP, Florida, U.S. Census. Accessed May 2023.
      15. About The Villages. Accessed May 2023.
      16. QuickFacts On Top of the World CDP, Florida, U.S. Census. Accessed May 2023.
      17. On Top of the World at a Glance, OTOW. Accessed May 2023.
      18. QuickFacts Sun City Center CDP, Florida, U.S. Census. Accessed May 2023.
      19. Veterans Sun City Center. Accessed May 2023.
      20. Financial Expert David Bakke, DollarSanity. Accessed April 2023.
      21. QuickFacts Laguna Woods city, California. Accessed May 2023.
      22. About Laguna Woods Village, Laguna Woods Village. Accessed May 2023.
      23. QuickFacts Lincoln city, California, U.S. Census. Accessed May 2023.
      24. About Us Sun City Lincoln Hills. Accessed May 2023.
      25. QuickFacts Rossmoor CDP, California, U.S. Census. Accessed May 2023.
      26. About Us Rossmoor. Accessed May 2023.
      27. QuickFacts Georgetown city, Texas, U.S. Census. Accessed May 2023.
      28. About Us Sun City Texas. Accessed May 2023.
      29. Communities Robson Ranch Texas. Accessed May 2023.
      30. QuickFacts San Marcos city, Texas, U.S. Census. Accessed May 2023.
      31. About Kissing Tree. Accessed May 2023.
      32. Driest States [Updated March 2023], World Population Review. Accessed May 2023.
      33. Natural Disasters by State [Updated May 2023], World Population Review. Accessed May 2023.
      34. Arizona Retirement Tax Friendliness, SmartAsset. Accessed May 2023.
      35. Climate of Hawai`i, NOAA. Accessed May 2023.
      36. Hawaii houses two of the 18 US volcanoes that have been classified as ‘very high threat,’ CNN. Accessed May 2023.
      37. Total Hospitals, KFF. Accessed May 2023.
      38. Ranking the States 2022, MHA. Accessed May 2023.
      39. Health Care Expenditures per Capita by State of Residence, KFF. Accessed May 2023.
      40. Compare Care Tool, Medicare. Accessed May 2023.
      41. The states with the fastest and slowest internet, Tom’s Guide. Accessed May 2023.
      42. About VA disability ratings, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Accessed March 2023.
      43. This Is the State With the Most VA Hospitals, 24/7 Wall St. Accessed May 2023.
      44. Taxes In Wyoming, Tax Foundation. Accessed May 2023.
      45. Wyoming Military and Veterans Benefits, U.S. Army. Accessed May 2023.
      46. Veteran Ownership Statistics, SBA. Accessed May 2023.
      47. South Dakota Military and Veterans Benefits, U.S. Army. Accessed May 2023.
      48. Military Benefits Subtraction FAQ, Virginia Department of Taxation. Accessed May 2023.
      49. Virginia Military and Veterans Benefits, U.S. Army. Accessed May 2023.

 

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Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare guru serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Medicare Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

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