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What does that mean for baby boomers, like me? How do we avoid sliding into the poorhouse during retirement due to sky-high health expenses?
It seems logical that retirees who are healthy today would spend less money over the course of their lifetime on health insurance, co-payments, out-of-pocket expenses, home health care and nursing home care, the whole shebang.
It seems logical, but it's wrong, according to a fascinating study I came across from the
At each stage, retirees in good health typically look forward to paying more for health care the remainder of their lives than do retirees in poor health. That seemingly twisted outcome makes sense when you consider three things:
--Healthy retirees live longer, so they run the risk of running up health care bills over more years.
--Many retirees currently free of chronic diseases -- we're talking diabetes, cancer, lung disease, heart disease or stroke -- will eventually suffer one or more of those ailments.
--Because healthy retirees are more likely to live to a riper old age, they will need nursing home care due to their frailty or chronic disease.
In other words, you can exercise, but you can't outrun disease or old age, no matter how hard you try.
That doesn't mean people should give up the effort to stay fit, eat right and avoid stress. It does mean, the study says, that people shouldn't delay buying health or long-term-care insurance.
Which brings us to another 2010 report from the
While a typical couple age 65 could expect to pay
And even as the number of years they can expect to live shrinks as they grow older, the amount of money they may have to spend on health care remains robust, because a big chunk of health care expenses occurs as death comes near.
In a nutshell, many older people face the prospect of not having enough money and insurance for all of their health care costs.
"In that case, the household will have to either forego needed health care or rely on
That's why the fight in
For more from the
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