Retiree Healthcare Costs Rise to a Cool Quarter Million

Fidelity recently came out with its latest estimate for healthcare costs in retirement. After staying relatively flat between 2013 and 2014, cost estimates rose for 2015. Part of the rise was explained as due to the fact that Fidelity increased the longevity assumptions used, upping life expectancy for males by 5 years and females by 2 years. Below is a summary from Bloomberg:

The average 65-year-old couple retiring this year will face health-care costs of $245,000 in the years ahead, up 11 percent from a 2014 estimate of $220,000, according to a new report.

That's alarming if you're 65, and maybe more alarming if you're 25 — imagine what the cost will be when you're ready to retire.

The higher number stems in part from a change in assumptions about how long we'll live. In the wake of updated mortality tables put out by the Society of Actuaries last year, Fidelity Investments raised life expectancies in its annual Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate. For 2015, it assumes that a 65-year-old man will live to 85, and a 65-year-old woman to 87. In 2014, the estimate was 82 for a man and 85 for a woman.

The estimated annual increase in medical and prescription expenses stands at 4 percent to 5 percent, about the same as last year. Prescription costs are trending higher than medical, at slightly above 7 percent, said Sunit Patel, senior vice president of Fidelity's Benefits Consulting group. Prescription drug costs account for 23 percent of that $245,000 figure. Money spent on deductibles and cost-sharing with an insurer make up 43 percent, and 34 percent goes to Medicare Part B and D premiums.

Fidelity's calculation assumes the couple is enrolled in Medicare health coverage and has bought supplemental (Medigap) insurance. Dental isn't included (and can be very expensive), nor is one big, scary chunk of potential costs—long-term care.