Preparing for the high cost of retirement care

Couples need to anticipate the cost of medical care in retirement years.

Facing an aging population, it is important to consider the affordability of health care in retirement years. With a decrease in the popularity of employers offering pension plans, those leaving the workforce must be especially cost-conscious in order to remain comfortable. 

Every year, Fidelity releases an estimate of the cost of care for couples over the age of 65. Their figure includes the estimated deductibles, coinsurance costs, premiums, prescription costs and out of pocket costs, but does not include long-term-care costs. 

By Fidelity's estimate, couples retiring this year with traditional Medicare coverage will need $220,000 for health care costs during their retirement. 

For many, this is  staggering sum. To help cope with the sticker shock, Dallas News published a list of strategies that that can help those leaving the workforce better prepare for the financial burden. 

  • Get second estimates. If you are responsible for high deductibles or co-payments, an easy way to save funds is to shop around for lower prices on services. The source provided an example of x-rays: it can often be cheaper to have them performed at a stand-alone radiology center than having them taken in a full-service hospital.
  • Try generic medication: Prescription costs can quickly accumulate, even with Medicare Part D plans that cover a portion of the total. And although Medicare offers 52.5 percent discount on brand-name drugs and only 28 percent for generic drugs, the generics are often still much more affordable.

Even with these strategies, many retirees may someday find themselves unable to cover the cost of care. This can prove to be a challenge to hospital and care facilities health insurance claims management teams, who need to ensure the hospital's collection of accounts receivable. To aid in this situation, facilities can outsource receivables management to Professional Medical Services and see increased cash flow and a reduction in the dollars written off to bad debt.