Planning for Health Care Costs in Retirement

As I was walking through an airport last week, I saw an ad which said that over 50% of all the people who have ever reached the age of 65 are alive today.  I don’t know whether that statement is true or not but it made me think about the costs of taking care of health needs as we age.  It is becoming clearer by the day that Medicare will not be able to carry on as usual.  Each of us must consider a future in which we will be responsible for a larger share of our health care costs.  How much will this cost and what should we do about it now?  The Wall Street Journal has an excellent panel discussion in its on line edition which addresses this very issue.  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204002304576626661825344084.html

 As the panelists point out, almost one-third of all Americans have at least one chronic disease and one in twenty has five.  The good news is that new treatments for these conditions are becoming available all the time.  The bad news is that you may have to pay for them yourself, at least until Medicare decides to cover them.  Again, there is a premium on making yourself as healthy as you can. 

While it is difficult to do, the panelists say that you can budget for the expenses associated with your future health care needs to reduce the chances that they will break your retirement nest egg.  Even now, Medicare doesn’t pay for everything a retiree needs.  When it comes to eyeglasses, hearing aids and your teeth, you are on your own already.  This list will undoubtedly grow in the future.  Any way you look at it, health care costs should be a part of your retirement budget planning.

Like so many other things in life, a little planning now may result in big savings and far fewer headaches in the future.  Take a look at the article and give some thought to the points it raises.

Posted in Health Care Costs, Medical Costs, Medicare |