Theres too much ignorance about health care costs in retirement
Our sluggish economic recovery is taking its toll well beyond lengthening unemployment lines and ballooning bloat in the federal budget deficit.
Annual reports by trustees of both Social Security and Medicare bring the bleak news that tumbling receipts from payroll taxes and bulging enrollments in the nations two basic entitlement programs spell trouble for both much sooner than expected.
Medicare is now expected to run out of money in 2024, five years sooner than anticipated; Social Security is projected to run dry in 2036, one year ahead of projections. Once the trust funds for the two programs are exhausted, the trustees reports have concluded, payroll taxes collected will bring only enough to make partial payments to the enormous group of baby boomers that will be queueing up for benefits.
Cant say we didnt see this coming, can we?
Thats why it was concerning to read ... how ill-prepared most Americans are to deal with the costs of health care in retirement, in particular. This is an inevitable and seemingly obvious expense of growing older. Surely, we all understand that these expenses increase as we age. Or maybe not.
According to a survey by Sun Life Financial, only 8 percent of us know how much health care costs in retirement will add up to in our golden years. If you dont know, prepare for sticker shock: Its an estimated $200,000 per person, according to best estimates. For a couple at age 65, an average of $230,000 will need to be socked away in retirement and that doesnt include dental care, long-term care coverage and nursing home expenses. The convergence of these two hard realities Medicares financial day of reckoning coming sooner rather than later and apparent widespread public ignorance about the costs of health care in retirement add up to yet more cause for concern for countless individuals, as well as for our national economic well-being.
In our entertainment-saturated culture, reality shows have proven a consistent ratings winner. It is time for that keen interest to be matched in real life. Most of us need to get real about our health care costs.