Factoring Health Costs in Retirement

Health costs rise with age and the level of a retiree households modified adjusted gross income. Typical costs can be either transitory or persistent. Transitory costs, such as breaking an ankle playing pickleball or the slip of the knife in the kitchen are random life events. Persistent expenditures can be existing health issues that continue into retirement resulting in higher out of pocket over time that can result in a lower disposable income available to the retiree for normal monthly bills.

The transition from an employer health plan to Medicare can be complex and time-consuming part of the retirement process but it can be well worth the time to avoid the uncomfortable experience of sticker shock after retiring. The cost of health care can pose a potentially substantial burden, especially for those living on a fixed income.

Some retirees mitigate potential health cost surprises or potentially persistently high costs resulting from pre-existing conditions by establishing savings accounts or controlling the level of annuitization of retirement income when evaluating options for receiving income prior to retirement.

Three of retirement’s great rewards are freedom from work, quality of life, and health. Planning for the unknown costs of health care is an important component when calculating how to take retirement income that should be considered before giving up that regular employer paycheck.

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