Retirement health care costs
Your ongoing expenses
3 different types of expenses for several different types of plans
Coverage you can add to Medicare:
If you choose Traditional Medicare (Parts A+B), you might buy an additional policy for extra coverage (also called "Medigap"). If so, you'll pay a separate premium for that.
Some Medigap plans have deductibles (but keep in mind that these plans offset other Medicare costs).
Costs vary widely depending on the plan you choose as well as your current health status, your location, and other factors.
Dental, vision, and hearing
Most of the time, Medicare doesn't cover these costs, so if you want insurance, you'll buy it separately. (Some Medicare Advantage plans do include coverage for these costs).
How it adds up
Medium risk: Individuals who generally have higher costs than nonsmokers free of chronic conditions but lower costs than high-risk individuals.
Example price tags (per year)*
High risk: Individuals who generally smoke, visit the doctor frequently, and/or have at least 2 serious chronic conditions.
Example price tags (per year)*
Source: Mercer-Vanguard health care cost model, 2018.
Your unpredictable expenses
Only 52% of retirees ever need to pay for long-term care.†
But for those who do, it can get expensive, fast. Temporary care (for example, to recover from a surgery or an accident) falls under Medicare Part A, so it would be at least partially covered. But Medicare doesn't cover ongoing long-term care.
How it works
Long-term care includes anything from adult day care to residence at an assisted living facility to nursing care. Unless you have long-term care insurance, you'll likely pay these costs out of pocket. And even insurance will typically start paying only after a predetermined period of time—and then only pay up to certain limits.
If you exhaust all your financial resources, Medicaid may pay these types of costs.
How much does long-term care cost?†
Paid long-term care costs:
FIND OUT WHAT YOU MIGHT SPEND ON HEALTH CARE
When it comes to retirement planning, knowing the "average" only gets you so far. We can help! As part of our advice service, you'll receive a retirement plan that includes a personalized health care estimate for every year you're in retirement, taking into account your health status, coverage choices, retirement location, and more.
Where does retirement fit into your priorities?
See how to juggle multiple financial goals
*Median cost in 2018 for a 65-year-old woman.
**Based on Supplemental Plan F.
†For people turning age 65 between 2015 and 2019. Source: Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) Issue Brief, Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Americans: Risks and Financing, ASPE Research Brief, revised February 2016, Table 5.
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For more information on the research behind Vanguard's health care cost estimator as well as the figures cited in this article, see