Scary health care costs in retirement … be concerned; don’t panic

The Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates that a 65-year-old couple needs $265,000 to cover health care premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs. Boston College Center for Retirement estimates $197,000.

Both are large, scary numbers and both are meaningless. These estimates are no different than saying a retired couple needs $80,000 for groceries and $200,000 (I wish) for property taxes.

What matters most are your monthly expenses, all of them, including your health insurance premiums and likely out-of-pocket costs compared with your after-tax income.

NOTE: The above costs do not include long-term care (nursing home/ home health care) that is not rehabilitative. What are the chances you will need LTC and for how long? The numbers are all over the place, but are heavily concentrated for those over age 80 and the chances seem higher for women (probably because they live longer). Here are some numbers to ponder.

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