Health expenses in retirement remain a major influence on the ability for seniors to maintain stability in their post-working lives, but remain surprisingly overlooked as seniors plan out their retirement finances. This is according to financial planner Eric Brotman in a new column at Forbes.
In citing a recent study on healthcare retirement saving patterns of different demographics conducted by Medical Alert Buyers Guide, the data indicates that Americans as a whole are generally very unprepared for managing healthcare costs in retirement.
“The first finding of this study was that while 71.5% of studied individuals were saving for retirement, only 38.1% were specifically saving for the cost of healthcare in retirement,” Brotman writes. “A huge mistake I see people making when trying to calculate how much of an income they’ll need in retirement is not taking into consideration how much their health care costs will increase.”
Most people seem to overlook the idea that their health will naturally deteriorate as they get older, which may be a culprit for some of this shortsightedness, Brotman says.
“In addition, retiring often means giving up an employer-sponsored health insurance plan and having to seek private insurance or Medicare,” he says. “Both options will likely cause an increase in out-of-pocket health care expenses.”
Additionally, more than half the people solicited in the survey answered that they plan to rely on Medicare to cover their health expenses in retirement. Brotman calls this “scary,” due to the laundry list of elements that are not covered under Medicare.
“[Some of these include] long-term care, most dental care, eye exams, dentures, hearing aids, [etc.],” he says. “Those who think Medicare will be their one-stop solution for health care expenses and don’t have a savings plan are going to be in a lot of trouble when they reach retirement age.”
This is why those that are at or near retirement always need to proactively plan ahead when attempting to adequately answer questions related to how their health-related expenses will be covered.
“A final finding from this study: 54.2% don’t think they’ll be able to retire before the age of 65 due to lack of preparation,” Brotman says. “The more prepared a person was to cover health care expenses, the more likely they were to feel confident in their ability to retire. When building your retirement plan, make sure you’re incorporating the costs of health care.”