Health insurance was our biggest barrier to early retirement. We retired at 50 (wife and I are same age) but we probably would have retired sooner if not for the huge premiums. Between us it's about 1800/month with a big deductible, no vision or dental. Essentially it is medical catastrophe insurance and we pay pretty much all our medical bills out of pocket. It sometimes feels like government sponsored extortion. We are healthy and neither of us have filed any claims to speak of in our lifetimes.
Not to get political but it would be nice if we could adopt the universal health care model that most other developed nations follow like our neighbors to the north. Anywho...
We just planned it into our retirement budget. My wife and I are HS sweethearts and our retirement planning begun at a very young age with lot's of scrimping saving and investing. For us we need to bridge that gap between now and when we should get social security and Medicare benefits along with the formal retirement from our working years.
I am not aware of any cheap alternatives other than some people simply pay the penalty for not having insurance and roll the dice on medical costs. I have heard of some faith based health care sharing but never really looked into it. Might be something there though!
Hope you find a way to hit the road soon!