6 Ways Retirees Can Cut Health-Care Costs

Medical expenses are likely to be one of your biggest expenses in retirement, and people totally underestimate the cost: Nearly half of the preretirees (ages 55-64) surveyed by Fidelity thought they would need only $50,000 to pay for health care costs in retirement.

Medical expenses are likely to be one of your biggest expenses in retirement, and people totally underestimate the cost: Nearly half of the preretirees (ages 55-64) surveyed by Fidelity thought they would need only $50,000 to pay for health care costs in retirement. But Fidelity estimates that the average 65-year-old couple retiring in 2013 will need $220,000 to cover their health care expenses throughout their lifetimes—not counting potential long-term-care costs. The largest portion of that total is from co-payments, deductibles and excluded benefits, followed by the cost of Medicare Part B and Part D premiums and out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. Here are six ways to prepare for and reduce health-care expenses.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.