How to Manage Medical Expenses in Retirement

graphic of how to manage medical expenses in retirement

by The Mesothelioma Center at
(Orlando, Florida)

Estimated Medical Expenses in Retirement

A common mistake people make when planning for retirement is underestimating how much they’ll need saved for medical expenses. While Medicare is designed to insure adults ages 65 and older, it falls short in many coverage areas — placing more financial burden on the retiree.

The average couple aged 65 or older who retired in 2019 can expect to pay a whopping $285,000 in medical expenses in retirement according to a 2019 Fidelity report. Even with Social Security and 401(k) income, this is a hefty expense.

That’s why having a solid savings fund is so important. So what are some tips for planning for medical expenses in retirement?

1. Understand your genetic predisposition.

Hereditary gene mutations can increase your risk of certain cancers and other diseases, so it’s a good idea to consult a specialist who can give you a better idea of your risk via genetic testing.

2. Eliminate unhealthy lifestyle choices.

While it’s often easier said than done, eliminating unhealthy lifestyle choices — like smoking, eating processed food, and not exercising — can increase the quality of your health.

Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle can save you thousands of dollars in medical bills later in life.

3. Understand what Medicare covers so you can be prepared for the rest.

According to a 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation study, Medicare beneficiaries still spend well over $5,000 out-of-pocket each year in medical expenses. Knowing what Medicare covers will help avoid any surprises in retirement.

The biggest things not covered under Medicare include dentures and dental care, acupuncture, routine foot care, cosmetic surgery, hearing aids, eye exams, and long-term or custodial care.

4. Have adequate insurance coverage.

Since Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care, it’s a good idea to enroll in long-term care (LTC) insurance. Even if it seems far away, approximately 52% of Americans 65 and older will need some form of long-term care.

Remember to consult you’re financial advisor if you’re ever unsure of what insurance coverage you’ll need.

For more information on managing medical expenses in retirement, read Managing Medical Expenses in Retirement: A Comprehensive Guide.

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