Health care costs will likely be your biggest retirement expense. For older adults, saving for retirement is only a start. Having enough financial resources and flexibility to live in retirement, PLUS cover expected health care costs as you grow older is a completely different planning equation.

Everyone will have a unique plan for aging. But forecasting options and strategizing about your “plan” is important – because it is likely that a significant portion of these future costs will come out of your own pocket.

Consider the following:
– Medicare covers only about half of beneficiary’s total health care costs.
– The higher your adjusted gross income, the higher your monthly Medicare premiums.
– Medicare generally does not pay long-term care expenses.
– Financial advisors estimate out-of-pocket health care estimates for a 65 year old couple can reach $250,000 – $400,000. over twenty years of retirement.
– Paying Medicare premiums, deductibles, co-pays and other shared costs will be elderly responsibility.
– A Medigap policy is an additional expense to consider. These are sold by private health insurance companies to help supplement original Medicare. This means it helps pay some of the health care costs that original Medicare doesn’t cover (like co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles). These are some of the “gaps” in Medicare coverage.
– Medicare Advantage Plans: A type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, most Medicare services are covered through the plan and are not paid for under original Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage. Of note: Medicare Advantage Plans may vary state by state, and county by county.

– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: ; or online at: