Retirees worry whether they'll be able to pay their medical bills
According to recent research from Fidelity Investments, almost seven in 10 (68%) of those approaching retirement said rising health care costs is one of their three biggest financial concerns (outliving savings and inflation being the other worries).
Good news. For the first time in 10 years, the outlook is improving for older workers wondering whether they'll be able to pay their medical bills throughout their retirements.
Fidelity Investments recently released its annual estimate of the lifetime, out-of-pocket costs for medical bills for a couple, both age 65, retiring in 2011. This year’s number — $230,000 — is down $20,000 from 2010’s estimate of $250,000.
Fidelity's estimate is a projection of what an average couple would need. Actual costs will vary widely, of course, depending on a couple's medical needs and how long they live. The study assumes no employer-provided insurance in retirement, and a life expectancy of 85 for women and 82 for men.
While a lot of attention is being paid to this more-than-unexpected drop, the Fidelity researchers were careful to portray this reduction as a one-time event, and they clearly expect medical costs to resume increasing in the future.
Fidelity attributed the one-time reduction to last year’s passage of Obama’s health care reform act, which reduced expenses for prescription drugs.
While these are U.S. figures, the Canadian experience may not be as different as many would like to believe, according to a recent C.D. Howe Institute report.
Canada can't keep spending on health care at its current rate, and must choose between a number of unpopular options for its state-funded medical system, says David Dodge. Health care spending would rise from 12 per cent of GDP in 2009 to 19 per cent in 2031 if spending kept growing at its current pace.
This would force Canadians to choose between a combination of a sharp cut in other public services, higher taxes, more private spending or a degradation of health care standards in the public sector, he maintains.
Looking ahead, do rising medical expenses concern you? What steps are you taking to soften the blow?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
* Follow Gordon on Twitter here.
Posted by: TC | Apr 13, 2021 10:17:17 AM
i think its time to take ownership for the overall cost of canadian healthcare. i worked in the trauma room for a number of years and witnessed an extreme amount of abuse to the system both internal and external. it was funny that on an excessively cold day the er waiting room would be empty but when the weather warmed up it would be jammed full of people seeking medical attention for a scratch or sniffle. a user fee might be an excellent determination factor that could be waved at the discretion of the physician if deemed emergent. self abusive behaviour in the form of life choices like smoking, obesity and lack of physical exercise, drug use, etc should be waranted by a premium as well. i am tired of people saying my cigarette taxes (wheres the happy meal tax to the heart and stroke fund?) will pay their way. its a drop in the hat and really will never make a dent in the overall cost to look after someone with very poor judgement. i have witnessed this first hand. less stress trying to cope with the influx of patients through the doors with the resoures we are allocated would allow us to reduce costs internally by allowing us time make descissions that are more cost effective and better options for the patients. there will always be the doubters of these comments but i have never worked at another job where i may not get a meal break for 12 hours due to the acuity of the job role and triagging people that should not have been there in the first place. its time for the general populous to be proactive rather than reactive and take ownwership for their own help. oviously diseaes of etiology that are no fault of the patient should be exempt of critisizm. in fact lets take away the name healthcare and rename it health assistance because if no one will take responsibility for their own health and follow the directives laid out by their health care team and use common sense they should be written off and deemed paliative. where else in the world can you treat health care staff as your wipping boys while barking out your own views and demands and put forth no effort. where is our dignity?
Posted by: Steven | Apr 13, 2021 11:06:06 AM
Retirees shouldn't have to worry, they're the largest, most powerful, most vocal voting block and with a bit of organization they could motivate the government to provide us with the healthcare system we should have. As for crowded emergency rooms, provide each MD with a patient budget and every non emergency ER visit could be subtracted from that patients allocation. Don't blame the patients because the Doctors and governments have worked together to limit access to primary care. We're paying a fortune for health care in Canada we should have better healthcare than we have.
Posted by: Northern Ontario | Apr 13, 2021 12:41:06 PM
My main concern will be the cost of drugs when needed. I am a self employer and my wife will not have access to any benefits once retired. We have 15 years to sock away money into an account we are dedicating toward possible Healthcare costs. It's actually our TFSA accounts which we maximize. One of these TFSA's will have approx. $125 000. We hope that amount will cover possible expensive drugs should we be stricken with a serious ailment. It might not be enough but at least we are proactive.
Posted by: GREGG | Apr 13, 2021 4:36:53 PM
UNIONS, THIS IS WHAT HAS TAKEN OUR MEDICAL SYSTEM TO THE CLEANERS. I have relatives that are nurses and they hose the system. Example, overtime, they will put a person in a Hotel and pay all their expenses even if they only live a mile away from that hotel..just an example of what Ive seen. We cannot continue this with a Liberal or NDP in government. It will bankrupt our country if we continue down this hostage road we call our medical system. With our baby boomers expecting to need alot of care we will be paying through the nose especially if Ignatieff or Layton get in.
It baffles my mind when i see them pitching billions into a hole that will never fill. Its time to privatize it all, get rid of these money sucking unions and all their b.s. that comes with it..
After our national debt is paid off we can bring this service back. And prvent these unions to ever be involved....Unions ruined the forest industry....Its time Canadians really looked at whats happening. Just out of curiosity go to an Emrgency room and see all the S.Asians in with their kids with a booger in their nose...taking up doctors and staff for a simple cold. It is disgusting . I saw 3 older gentleman and a lady at my doctors office, there was nothing wrong with them, they just wanted to talk...these are just a few of at least 20 million excuses..Please Harper fix this now before we bankrupt our great grandchildren and so forth. I do not want to be hyjacked by these unions anymore. They were good for a while but now they should be done with period.
Posted by: fishman | Apr 13, 2021 4:57:56 PM
Wake up people!!! Its all the immigrants and there ageing family members canada lets in to feed off your H.care. when they only pay in 3 years at the most. and can collect full H. care thats the problem.
Posted by: Ray Larder | Apr 13, 2021 9:13:07 PM
Health care receives its fair share of available money in Ontario, so its shocking to hear politicians always asking for more. (Layton, Ignatieff).
Lets live within our means.
Mcginity and Dwight Duncan have increased the debt in the Province of Ont. to $236,000,000,000 dollars, (interest on this money is $10,000,000,000 dollars), when Bob Rae was in the Ont. debt was $100,000,000,000 dollars.
Pay off the debt and there will be $10,000,000,000 available for health care.
We especially have to stop the spending in these dire times.
I,m sure you don't want your children and grand children paying for others debt.
Posted by: Chip | Apr 15, 2021 6:10:53 AM
I pay health care and dental plan premiums... it's called INSURANCE. My taxes also pay for OHIP (in Ontario)... but for the past xxx years, I've also paid McGuinty's government an additional $600-750 on my yearly taxes. Why ??? So he can cater to the minority vote. I agree with fishman... ANY DAY, head out to your local clinic or hospital ER and count the actual number of immigrants there... let alone the exorbitant costs of performing medicals on every boatload of illegal refugees that come to our shores.
Posted by: Northern Ontario | Apr 15, 2021 6:52:05 AM
@Chip. I am very disappointed with your response. I was one of your supporters with your intellectual blogs you provided but I now know the real Chip.
Posted by: Jason | Apr 16, 2021 1:24:09 AM
Intellectual are we tallking about the same Chip?
Posted by: Chip | Apr 16, 2021 1:47:25 AM
@ Jason... the one and only baby !! Sometimes the post is purely to solicit a reaction (much like these articles) or for entertainment purposes... others less so. It was certainly enlightning to read yours. Nice going there champ, ya actually got more than 5 words in !!
Posted by: Northern Ontario | Apr 17, 2021 8:57:12 AM
Atually, it was my way to make Chip shut up which it worked. I figured a compliment would equal silence but any negative opinion toward Chip normally ends up with a long-winded response from an individual with a very low IQ and low self-esteem. Keep it coming Chippy
Posted by: Myron1043 | Apr 17, 2021 4:16:21 PM
Wow - whose fault is the current state of our Health Care?
The Unions, those lazy nurses, those teachers, those bleeding heart Liberals, sick or not so sick people in Emergency Rooms and if not them - well it has to be those dam immigrants (whom we all came from at one point).
If you live in Canada you are rich allready - and have access to great health care and education! God knows our health care and education systems are not perfect and we should strive to improve them. But enough allready - we live in the best country in the world!!!