Here’s something to add to your retirement bucket list: healthcare. A recent Kiplinger poll indicates that healthcare costs top the list of Americans’ concerns when planning for retirement. Medical care ranks among the top three categories people expect to spend more on in retirement, along with travel and visiting family. In a related report, Fidelity shows the average couple will need $280,000 in today’s dollars for medical expenses in retirement, excluding long-term care.
Ironically, people aren’t saving now for medical care they’ll need in their golden years because they’re paying for healthcare today. Even the best health insurance often is insufficient to cover the cost of prolonged illness or other unforeseen medical issues. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, medical expenses are the cause of 66.5 percent of bankruptcy filings. The trend is ongoing. And it changes how we make life decisions.
Individuals in various age groups are thinking more about retirement planning and making healthcare a top priority. As the Kiplinger findings suggest, it’s best for people in all age groups to realize that high healthcare costs are here to stay. The good news is that more healthcare systems understand that a growing number of consumers face formidable out-of-pocket expenses. Many organizations are willing to work with patients by offering affordable payment plans.
According to the ClearBalance® 2018 Healthcare Consumerism study, 79 percent of respondents will ask their provider about payment options. And, 94 percent expect their provider to offer affordable options to repay their medical bill, including long-term financing.
In response to healthcare concerns, financial consultants and retirement planners are encouraging individuals to think beyond the “fun” bucket list. They’re counseling consumers about what they should do to cover medical costs now and in the future. It’s incumbent on us in the healthcare industry to do our part in making healthcare affordable. From the provider perspective, offering a long-term payment plan is a win-win for your community and your organization.