Cheryl Costa, a certified financial planner in Framingham, Massachusetts, said the projections can seem scary, but it might help to think of the estimates in annual or monthly costs, rather than a lump sum. Over 20 years, Fidelity’s average estimate is around $656 a month, which isn’t out of line with what you may already be paying for health care, she said.
“Keep it in perspective,” he said.
Carolyn McClanahan, a certified financial planner in Jacksonville, Fla., said there were many variables in health care costs and future changes to Medicare rules were unpredictable. So instead of focusing on generic estimates to save for retirement health costs, he said, people should consider their specific situation, including what they currently pay for health care, their overall health, family history, and the amount of health care they use.
“What is your mindset about health care?” said Mrs. McClanahan. If she doesn’t see the doctor as often and exercises and maintains a healthy weight, her out-of-pocket expenses in retirement may be lower and she can budget accordingly, she said.
Here are some questions and answers about healthcare costs in retirement:
Are health savings accounts useful for retirement health costs?
Health savings accounts, or HSAs, offer valuable tax advantages and can be a great way to save for retiree medical costs, financial advisers say, if you qualify to contribute to one. You must be enrolled in a high-deductible health care plan, with a specific annual deductible (at least $1,500 for individual coverage in 2023).
The money is deposited before taxes, grows tax-free, and is not taxed when you withdraw it, as long as you spend it on eligible expenses. A person can contribute up to $3,850 in 2023, plus an additional $1,000 for those age 55 and older. (Once you enroll in Medicare, you can no longer contribute to an HSAbut you can use the funds to pay for health and medical expenses).