Strategies to Pay for Retiree Health Care Costs

Plan ahead by including medical expenses as a line item in your retirement budget.

When you draw up a retirement-spending budget, you're likely to account for utilities, car insurance and lawn care. But have you given the cost of health care a hard look—or are the numbers too scary to contemplate?

One of the most important moves preretirees can make is to see that “their financial plan explicitly accounts for health costs in retirement,” says Sunit Patel, senior vice-president of Fidelity Benefits Consulting. On average, a couple age 65 will spend $220,000 on health care costs during retirement—and that does not include potential long-term-care costs, according to new estimates by Fidelity Investments.

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Susan B. Garland
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Retirement Report
Susan Garland is the former editor of Kiplinger's Retirement Report, a personal finance publication whose subscribers are retirees and those approaching retirement. Before joining Kiplinger in 2006, Garland was a freelance writer whose work appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, BusinessWeek, Modern Maturity (now AARP The Magazine), Fortune Small Business and other publications. For 12 years, Garland was a Washington-based correspondent for BusinessWeek, covering the White House, national politics, social policy and legal affairs. Garland is a graduate of Colgate University.