During your golden years, healthcare will very likely be your biggest expense. By the time you get done reading this article, you will surely understand the inevitability and wisdom of spending cash on healthcare. That’s because you worked hard for decades to save money for retirement. The question is this:
When you are over age 65, how much of your accumulated wealth will you spend on your health?
A 65-year-old healthy couple can plan to spend $266,600 on health care – and that’s just on Medicare premiums, says HealthView Services. In case you think that’s an exaggeration, Fidelity estimates $245,000. And neither estimate includes out-of-pocket expenses or long-term care costs. And MediCare does not cover vision or dental care. This is a great reason to be healthy in your youth, and as you age.
No matter your retirement funding situation, don’t forget about keeping your health. Because your health is your wealth.
~ Margaret Aranda, MD, PhD
Be aware that managed care and MediCare may greet you with the “Toyotaization” of medicine as your ailments are treated in cookie-cutter style, the same as everyone else. Check out these statistics on health care costs:
Top 10 Statistics on US Health Care Costs
- Stressful to plan retirement. According to the 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey, 6 out of 10 workers express financial uncertainty over retiring comfortably, with 3 of 10 feeling mentally or emotionally stressed at planning.
- Rising elder population. In 2010, those over 65 years comprised 13% of the population; in 2016, it was 15.2%.
- Cost. In 1960, health care cost $27.2 billion, just 5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). In 2015, U.S. health care cost $3.2 trillion, or 17.8 percent of GDP.
- Excessive cost. Health care costs have risen faster than annual income or inflation.
- Earnings and cost of health care. Health care cost 4% of earnings in 1960, rising to 6% in 2013. Due to higher premiums based on those age 55 to 64 using the marketplace Affordable Care Act, the financial burden totals a whopping 24.5% of income.
- Chronic illness. 85% of health care costs is spent on chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, diagnosed in almost 50% of US adults. These are expensive and difficult to treat conditions.
- The very ill. The sickest 5 percent of the population consume 50% of total health care costs.
- The healthiest. The healthiest 50 percent only consume 3 percent of the nation’s health care costs. That’s where you want to be.
- Caregiving. Like 40 million Americans, you may already be a caregiver to an aging parent. 92% of caregivers are also financial caregivers who spend $190 billion providing care.
- Financial stress. The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation notes that of patients having trouble paying their medical bills, 73% cut cost by skimping on rent, clothes or food.
How much money you spend on health care during retirement depends on one thing: how healthy you are.
As you age over 65, it is clear that you will spend more and more money on sickness, so it makes sense to spend money now on either getting or staying well. Put some cash into better health, aging healthy, and personal improvements like reversing obesity – it may be the wisest investment for both health and wealth.
The bottom line is that making healthy lifestyle changes today leads to both a great quality of life and… fewer medical bills as you age.
~ ~ ~
Recipes by Dr. Margaret Aranda:
Articles by Dr. Margaret Aranda:
Free Consultation with Margaret Aranda, MD, PhD – Age Management Medicine