Health care costs in retirement, a big deal?

These types of headlines drive me nuts. They mean nothing.

Why not say couples in retirement face an average $290,000 in property taxes (that’s my tax rate) or $100,000 in food costs?

Yeah, health care costs and premiums are a problem. They are an ongoing expense which may or may not be incurred by any given individual, at least beyond premiums.

On the other hand, property taxes and other routine expenses will definitely continue and in that case may not be directly related to couples or singles.


  1. It is hard to get an accurate estimate of how much one will need for future healthcare costs in retirement. The important thing is that you know that it will be expensive and hard to handle. Before that happens, make sure you’ll be able to maximize any health coverage that you can obtain such as Medicare. You have to take advantage of various protections that will aid you in paying for healthcare needs. Such as Medicare Supplements and long-term care insurance. People should know those options ahead of time so they will be able to create a strategy to face healthcare in retirement.


  2. It would be interesting to see that figure broken down. The Social Security Administration provides a longevity chart they use to predict average life expectancy over the general population. Based on just two factors, age and sex, the average couple who have reached 65 will live on average another 15 to 18 years past 65. (Women about 18, men 15.)

    The $280,000 figure appears high to me. Then again, the average vs. the median, may be the answer. A couple who both have major surgeries can rack up many hundreds of thousands in health expenses. Their costs would of course being the “average” up.


      1. In the original article, it stated that the costs for men was $133,000. Divide that by 15 years and its only $8,866.67 per year just for the men. I am not on Medicare so I don’t know if this is too much. Is this reasonable for out of pocket expenses, drug co-pays, supplement premiums, and actual end of life ICU or CCU costs that are not covered?

        With my current medical insurance and out of pocket expenses for the first 4 months of this year, we (my wife and I) will spend about $8,205 this year if we don’t get sick or should I say sicker.

        I agree the headline does not give contexts and might scare people into doing nothing because they think it is an impossible amount. If you stated as an annual amount, some people might realize it is almost the amount that they are paying now. For people who only make minimum wage, this is an impossible amount to comprehend since it would take them 14 years to earn that much money. They also don’t understand the power of compounding their money.


      2. The key problem is you can’t apply averages very accurately. And many people have coverage that protects nearly all out of pocket costs. The greatest risk is long-term care. The fact is all costs in retirement are a big deal over a lifetime.


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