Report Warns of Growing Health Care Savings Needs in Retirement

A recent report by Fidelity Investments indicates that couple’s may need to put away even more in their retirement over the coming years to cover the cost of their health care. According to the report, a married couple retiring this year at the ages of 65-years old would need a staggering $280,000 saved away to pay for the cost of their health care over the remainder of their lives, a 2 percent increase over the previous year and a 75 percent increase from Fidelity’s first estimate of retirement health care costs in 2002.


Fidelity estimates that on average, men will need a total of $133,000 for healthcare expenses in retirement, while a woman would need about $147,000 because of their longer life expectancies on average. The company’s estimates are based on calculations that may shift due to fluctuations in the economy as well as changes in how the federal and state governments regulate the healthcare market.


“Despite this year’s estimate remaining relatively flat, covering health care costs remains one of the most significant, yet unpredictable, aspects of retirement planning,” said Shams Talib, executive vice president and head of Fidelity Benefits Consulting. “It’s important for individuals to educate themselves and take steps while working to ensure they are prepared to address these costs. Otherwise, people risk having to dip into more of their savings than originally anticipated, potentially impacting their overall retirement lifestyle.”


Fortunately, there is some good news for younger and middle aged people working and actively saving for their retirements. Fidelity Investments examined some of its own clients 401(k) portfolios and determined that on average employees were saving 10 percent more for their retirements.


Fidelity also conducted surveys of early retirees 50 to 64-years old over the past three-years, asking how these individuals planned on paying for their health care needs into retirement. Most of the respondents said they had some form of healthcare coverage to pay for medical care until they reached Medicare eligibility. Just over one-third of those surveyed said they were paying $500 per month or more in healthcare premiums. When Fidelity Investments asked early retirees how they pay for their out-of-pocket premiums, copays and deductibles, almost half responded they used personal savings, one quarter said they were relying on Social Security income, and 15 percent said they relied on their retirement accounts.

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