Health Care Estimate: $220,000 Liability For 65 Year Old Couple

Jul 19, 2013

That’ll be $220,000, please.

Fidelity Benefits Consulting, an arm of mutual fund and brokerage giant Fidelity Investments, estimates that’s the cost of medical expenses for an American couple retiring this year at age 65. The figure applies to retirees with traditional Medicare insurance coverage.

1) The good news: That number is lower in 2013 than it was a year ago, by a significant eight percent (it was $240,000) due to expected lower healthcare usage, a slower economy, and predicted cutbacks in payments to healthcare providers.

“The decrease is significant since Fidelity’s estimates had increased six percent per year, on average, between 2002 and 2012,” according to a related article in

2) The not-so-good news: The $220,000 estimate does not reflect nursing-home care costs. Those whopping costs can easily go into five and six figures per year, depending on geographic area.

3) The really-not-so-good news: People aren’t expecting medical costs to be that high. A separate poll by Fidelity found 48 percent of respondents believe they will need just $50,000 to cover medical expenses in retirement.

I tend to think that those in the insurance industry are ahead of the curve on this issue. Because insurance providers carry so much responsibility for the financial well-being of others, the workers in our industry tend to be aware of the need for financial planning and preparation. Additionally, employers in the industry often have strong benefits and retirement programs for employees.

But for every American, health care costs before and during retirement are daunting.

— Sharon Emek, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Work At Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE)


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