Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Retirement Planning and Health Care Costs: Major Disconnect

IRA's, 401k's and the like have taken some major hits the past few years as the economy continues to sputter. Still, lots of Americans choose to (or must) retire each year, all hoping that they've saved enough to finance their Golden Years. They've (presumably) factored in the cost of food and shelter, transportation and the like. And to some extent, they've tried to sock away enough to cover their health care needs over the long haul.

Unfortunately, many of those plans will fall far short:

"According to Fidelity [Investments], couples retiring this year will need, on average, $240,000 to cover medical expenses throughout retirement"

That's up almost 4% from last year, and comes to just shy of $11,000 per year for medical expenses.

The problem:

"Most Americans, however, only anticipate spending about $5,621 a year"

That 50% disconnect can add up to some big bucks over one's lifetime. And it's getting worse, as medical inflation continues to outstrip the overall inflation rate (a little less than 4%).

Of course, Medicare will be there to bear the brunt of most of these expenses, right?


Well, not so much:

"Americans anticipate Medicare covering 68 percent of their health-care costs in retirement ... When pressed to explain this number, nearly three-quarters admitted to guessing. "

And they guessed wrong.

Very wrong:

"Medicare only covers about 51 percent of the expenses associated with health-care services"

That 17 point gap is big enough to drive a truckful of scooters through. And it assumes (unjustifiably) that Medicare itself will still be around. But that's not necessarily a sure thing, given that ObamneyCare© takes a big chunk of that program's funding and shifts it elsewhere.

Death Panels, anyone?

[Hat Tip: FoIB Jeff M]

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