By Joe Globensky, RFC®

healthcare costs

Fidelity just updated their research on the estimated cost of healthcare for a 65-year old couple throughout their retirement. Their research indicates that it will now cost as much as $280,000*, and they are probably correct based on their assumptions. We all know about the rising cost of healthcare, regardless of age, and this is one reason why I recently attended a conference focused on helping seniors with these rising costs. Let’s look at some of the assumptions used in this study and how these estimated costs can be reduced.

The first assumption is that once you turn 65, you will enroll in Original Medicare Part A (Hospitalization) and Part B (Medical). For those of you that don’t know, you enroll in Medicare as an individual, not as a couple. Everyone who enrolls in Medicare will pay their respective monthly premium. For 2018, this cost will be approximately $1,600 for the year per person, assuming no adjustment or penalty due to higher income levels.

With Original Medicare, you have deductibles to meet, and then a 20% share of most costs.  Depending on the care you need, this could easily exceed $280,000, so the research includes assumptions based on an average level of care. Which one of us wants to assume they are average? That’s why it is important to learn about Medicare Supplement (Medigap) and Medicare Advantage plans. These plans can help you keep your annual healthcare expenses to a much more reasonable level.

Plans may include coverage for prescription drugs, or you may need to purchase a standalone prescription drug plan (Part D). While this may help control the rising costs of prescription drugs, it is not the only tool you can use. Apps like GoodRx make comparing prescription drug prices easy and may help you find lower prices on your prescribed medications. You can also use resources available through your doctor or pharmacy, such as discount drug coupons or cards, to save additional money.

Another assumption in the research is that the $280,000 figure does not include the potential cost of a long-term care event. While none of us would choose a medical condition requiring long-term care, statistics say that some of us will not have a choice. Genworth has compiled a Cost of Care survey since 2004 that provides data on long-term care costs nationally, and at the local level. And while the numbers can seem quite high, a little planning can significantly reduce the potential financial costs.

You worked your whole life to get to retirement. Now is the time for you to enjoy it without worrying about your potential healthcare costs. At Connections Financial Advisors, we want to help you keep as much of your hard-earned money in your pocket as possible. Talk to one of our advisors today on how we might be able to help you save money on your future healthcare needs.

* Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate, an average retired couple age 65 in 2018 may need approximately $280,000 saved (after tax) to cover health care expenses in retirement.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Companies mentioned and their respective services are not affiliated with LPL Financial.

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