Planning for Health Care Expenses

It’s a sobering truth: Just when we get the time to enjoy life more in retirement, health issues tend to become larger.

If you are eligible, UC retiree health care insurance and Medicare can pay a large portion of your health care expenses in retirement. However, remember that some of your expenses may still go uncovered.

With health care costs increasing each year, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your health care options and the resources available to you. Fortunately, as with other expenses in retirement, medical expenses are something you can plan and save for, especially if you start early.

How Much?

Estimates of what you’ll need to cover your medical expenses during retirement vary, but most sources agree that the amount can be in the six-figure range.1

During retirement, your medical expenses will include:

  • Any premiums you’ll pay for insurance to cover expenses over and above what Medicare pays (Medicare Part B);
  • Coverage for prescription drugs (Medicare Part D);
  • Out-of-pocket expenses for co-pays, deductibles, and miscellaneous home care costs; and
  • Potentially, the cost of nursing home or long-term care.

Most estimates do not assume employer coverage, so remember that you may be eligible to continue your UC health benefits if you elect monthly retirement income from the UC Retirement Plan and meet certain UC service credit requirements. Whatever your level of coverage for health care in retirement, your costs will be based on:

  • Your health status. If you have a chronic condition or risk factors for developing one, your costs may be higher than average. If you smoke, you are at higher risk for heart disease or cancer, and family history is also a risk factor for heart disease. If you are overweight, you are at higher risk for developing diabetes.
  • Your life expectancy. The longer you live, the higher your expenses. If you have longevity in your family, plan for that.

 

1 “The High Cost of Health Care in Retirement,” The Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2014.

 

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