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Retiree Health Care Costs Jump to $275,000 Per Couple

Latest figure reflects a decades-long rise in out-of-pocket spending

Retiree Health Care costs will increase

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The estimate is the latest sign of soaring medical care costs.

Couples age 65 who retire this year face a cost of $275,000 for health care throughout their retirement, investment giant Fidelity estimates.

That’s a 6 percent hike over last year’s estimate of $260,000 and a more than 70 percent increase since Fidelity came out with its initial retiree health-cost figure in 2002.

The total includes Medicare premiums, co-payments and deductibles, as well as prescription-drug costs. It does not include nursing home or long-term care.

The estimate is the latest sign of soaring medical care costs, which have grown dramatically for decades, regardless of changes in federal law.

"These expenses are only expected to increase in the future, so it’s critical that people include health care as a significant part of their retirement plan," said Adam Stavisky, senior vice president of Fidelity Benefits Consulting. "But workers can't do it alone — employers need to find practical, innovative ways to help their employees understand the health care expenses they may face in retirement, as well as provide the tools and education to help employees save enough."

Fidelity notes that more companies are offering ways to help workers curb costs, including health savings accounts that provide a tax break on medical expenses and a means to save for future costs during retirement.

“While we're encouraged that more companies are taking an active role in assessing the needs of their workforce, employers need to continue to find ways to improve the overall well-being of their employees during their working years and into retirement," Stavisky said.