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Don't Let Health Care Steal Your Retirement

Posted By Louise Probst, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Need evidence that skyrocketing health care costs affect everyone? Try this eye-opening estimateA 55-year-old couple should plan to provide the equivalent of 92% of their lifetime Social Security benefits to cover their Medicare financial responsibilities. A 45-year-old couple will spend a projected 122% of their Social Security benefits

These statistics are from a report by Health View Services, a company that provides data and software to financial advisors. Projections were based on data from more than 70 million annual health care cases and assumed 22 years of retirement. Calculations include premiums for supplemental Medicare insurance, Medicare Part B and Part D, out-of-pocket costs for medical, dental, hearing, and vision services, and prescription drug prices. They do not include costs for long-term care.
Health care inflation is the culpritThe analysis assumes health care costs grow on average 5.5% a year, and that the annual cost-of-living adjustment on Social Security continues at 2.9%.  

Staying in good health can mitigate medical bills. The report contains scenarios that show how getting diabetes under control can save money and increase longevityBut besides exercising, eating vegetables, and budgeting with realistic expectations for health care spending, what else can we do? 

To start, become a value shopper. Help your employees to understand that costs vary and encourage them to ask why it costs so much. Studies have demonstrated that higher cost of care does not equal higher quality. Cost may be higher due to complications of care or prices that are simply higher.

While health care costs challenge a secure retirement, they also impact many aspects of American life. There is no single solution, but there are actions to be taken and contributions to be made by all. Achieving affordable health care must be everyone's agenda. BHC and MHI leaders from across Missouri recently participated in a national summit on the affordability of health care. More than twenty other communities participated in this call to action.

If there is an action which you would like to take or see taken, please share it with the BHC so that it can be added to the list being collected through various community conversations. 

Warm regards,
Louise Probst

BHC Executive Director


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