If you’re 65 years of age or over, you might need to seriously re-evaluate your retirement funds to see if they will cover future health care expenses.
It’s a no brainer that the costs of health care in this country are going to continue to increase. It’s inevitable. So, what that means is even if Medicare and Medicaid do have lower premiums when the change in programs comes in 2010, you’ll need more money to make your increased health care costs at some point in time. Traditionally, health care costs have shot up at twice the rate of general inflation.
While this may seem right off the wall, it actually isn’t given the current state of the economy and the rising costs of getting medical services. If you retire this year you may need up to $378,000 in savings just to meet the demands of your insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Quite eye opening isn’t it? By the way, this particular figure is for a male; a female’s calculation would have to be even higher simply because they live longer. How high? As high as $450,000. Sound like a lot? Perhaps, but health care usually represents 12% to 14% of expenses for seniors.
Salting away that kind of money might be a tad difficult to ensure you have enough coverage for the rough spots life throws at you. You could of course, shoot for a lower amount and take a risk that you have a 50/50 chance of having enough funds to cover health care bills. It’s a tough decision to face when you hit 65 and think you have things under control.
What happens if some people retire first before becoming eligible for Medicare? Many of them think they can apply for Medicare early, just like they applied for Social Security benefits, but that isn’t the case. What this means is that they will need more money to cover the gap between retirement and their 65th birthday.
So really, what are the options if you want to save that kind of money to ensure you have coverage later in life? Plan your retirement and what kind of health care benefits you will need well in advance with a qualified, knowledgeable insurance agent. There are so many different options available out there, that one should suit your situation.
Make retirement plans early, be smart and save aggressively like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter, work longer hours if you need to for the extra money and take care of yourself to reduce the number of problems that might crop up in later life.
Make it a point to know what Medicare covers, ask questions about Medigap (the insurance companion to Medicare), know how Medicare Part D works to your advantage, check out the prescription drug plan, and ask about long-term care. Knowledge is power and that power will help you redefine what you may need for your future health care needs.