Laid-off boomers and those forced into early retirement struggle to find affordable health insurance. U.S. News & World Report examines seven scenarios for this particular situation, plus options for continuing health insurance:

Retiree health insurance: Here’s the fact – most workers will never receive health insurance from their former employer. Only 31 percent of firms with 200 or more workers offered retiree health benefits in 2008, less than half the 66 percent that did so in 1988, U.S. News reports.

Continuing coverage: Employers are required by federal law to offer COBRA continuation health coverage for up to 18 months when you leave your job. But you have to pay the entire cost of the insurance out of your own pocket plus a 2 percent administrative fee.

Back to work: Many Americans try to stay on the job until they qualify for Medicare at age 65 to keep their health insurance. If you’re laid off before age 65 or choose early retirement, working just 20 hours a week at some companies will make you eligible for group health benefits. Some professional organizations also make you eligible for more inexpensive group coverage.

Do it yourself: If you can’t get health insurance from an employer or spouse, you will have to insure yourself.

A roll of the dice: Americans who truly can’t afford health insurance often go without necessary care. More than 70 percent of adults with gaps in their health insurance coverage reported not getting needed healthcare because of the cost, up from just over half in 2001, according to the Commonwealth Fund.

Keep up the good work: Continuing to get preventive care and staying healthy may be the best way to keep health costs in check, before and after qualifying for Medicare

For the complete story, visit U.S. News & World Report’s online site.