Business

Retiring couples face $220k in health care costs, study says

The average couple retiring this year can expect to pay $220,000 in health care costs during the course of their retirements, according to a new estimate from Fidelity Investments.

Among people older than 55 who have not retired, only a small minority was able to correctly estimate health care expenses, Fidelity’s survey found. Just 10 percent of respondents said they expected to spend more than $200,000 on health care for themselves and their spouses during retirement. Nearly 60 percent said they expected to spend less than $50,000.

Fidelity’s estimate includes Medicare premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, and co-pays that the average couple could expect to incur, but not the potential costs of nursing homes.

Advertisement

The estimate is unchanged from last year’s. The projection peaked in 2010 at $250,000, but has since dropped because of increased Medicare coverage of prescription drugs and reduced consumption of health care, Fidelity said.

Fidelity noted that its estimate was made for 65-year-old couples where men were projected to live to 82 and women, 85. The company also noted that retiring before 65 would add another $17,000 a year to a typical couple’s health care costs. On the other hand, working past 65 could save them $10,000 per year.

Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.