HSA Headlines - Healthy couples should still expect climbing medical costs

Just a few weeks after we reported on FSAstore.com that most people approaching retirement age are planning to stay in the workplace (mostly because of necessity) now we're seeing that healthy couples are likely to still pay exorbitant medical bills thanks to the same pattern of rising costs.

Yes, even the couple that jogs together daily and spends much more to eat right. They're still likely to feel the sting of inflation. Let's see what Lee Barney of PlanSponsor has to say about it.

Even Healthy Couples Will Face Extreme Health Care Costs in Retirement - Lee Barney, PlanSponsor

Why mince words? According to the article, "A healthy 65-year-old couple retiring this year will spend $369,000 in today's dollars on health care over their lifetime."

For baby boomers, this number seems large, but expected. However, when you do a little math, in 20 years, that same couple will have paid roughly $551,000 -- a 250% boost over the original total.

Of course, there are a lot of variables in play. Most notably, that the couple's health status remains consistent over the course of their lives. I think we can all assume this is a tough thing to assume, much less predict and calculate. But what's easier to predict is that health care costs will continue to rise, whether or not people are healthy.

The article cites another staggering figure (which we'll just repeat verbatim):

"Using the same assumptions applied to a healthy 65-year-old couple retiring in 2019, a healthy 45-year-old couple that retires at age 65 is projected to spend $532,000 on health care in 2019 dollars, and $1.4 million over their retirement years."

Yikes.

Part of this can be attributed to something the author reported on earlier this year about an EBRI report that explained how Medicare was never really designed to cover retiree health care costs in full -- a problem made worse by ongoing cutbacks to Medicare and retiree health plans, leaving patients to foot more of the bill each year.

While we can't (and won't) make predictions about the ever-changing state of health care costs, it's becoming increasingly important to have more safety nets in place to cover medical needs now and into your retirement.

Of course, speak with a qualified financial professional before making any adjustments to your planning. But if you're on the fence about opening an HSA (or making larger contributions to an existing one) you might want to consider the trend we just discussed to help guide your decision.

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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