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medical costs

Keeping Medical Costs as Affordable as Possible during Retirement

Many individuals are horrified to discover that healthcare will one of the largest expenses that they will have to take into consideration during what are supposed to be their golden years. Information provided by Fidelity Investments has revealed that a couple that retired in 2017 can expect to spend approximately $275,000 on healthcare-related expenses during retirement. 

Below are some strategies that could help minimize healthcare costs throughout this period in your life:

Prevention is Better than Cure

One of the best ways to avoid as many potential future costs, seek out ways to start improving your health and reducing the risk of disease now. Use spare time to exercise, get a good amount of sleep and ensure that you eat good quality food. Taking advantage of preventative healthcare services such as vaccines and free screenings that are offered from time to time will go a long way in helping to detect issues as early as possible.

Reduce Dental Expenses

A number of seniors are disappointed after learning that Medicare won’t cover the cost of most forms of dental care and procedures – which will be costly if dentures, bridges, crowns or implants are needed at any time. 

A great way to help reduce this expense is to see if you live near a dental school. Although students would be performing the procedures at these institutions, they will be under the close watch of qualified dental surgeons and using these services could slash your dental costs by as much as 50% to 60%.

Find Ways to Reduce the Cost of prescription Medications

Even retirees who have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan will find themselves having to cover part or even all of the cost of some of the more expensive prescription medications out of their pockets. Sometimes, these plans have deductibles that will need to be met before the cost of prescriptions will be covered as well. 

Wherever possible, find out from your healthcare provider whether any generic alternatives are available for any costly medications that you’re using. In many cases, generic medications can cost up to 70% less than the originals.

Manage Existing Chronic Conditions

If you already have any chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis or asthma, now is the time to seek out ways to be proactive with regards to managing them. This can be done by learning as much as possible about each condition and doing everything you can to help prevent them from worsening over time. Your doctor or even a local senior center will often be able to provide the resources you need to get started with this. 

Although taking as many preventative measures as possible before retirement won’t guarantee that your medical expenses will remain low during this time of your life, it will certainly help knowing that you’re being as proactive as possible with regards to staying fit and healthy – especially if you commit to remaining physically and mentally active.

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Dealing with Unexpected Medical Costs during Retirement

While you should be able to relax and enjoy your retirement years as much as possible, a possibility always exists that could result in you having to cover the cost of large and unexpected medical bills. If you’re unfortunate enough to land in this financial position, there are some steps you can take to try and reduce the effect that it will have on your retirement funds as much as possible. 


Never Rely Entirely on Medicare

Several older individuals are under the impression that Medicare will be able to handle all of their health-related costs after they reach the age of 65. However, this doesn’t always work according to plan, which is why it’s important to think about purchasing a Medigap policy from a private insurer and/or a Part D prescription medicine plan. 

Keep in mind that it will only be possible to purchase Medigap cover if you already have Medicare Part A (hospital services) and Medicare Part B (standard doctor services) sorted out. This alone will help you cover as many potential medical emergencies as possible that could occur after you’ve retired. 


Find out if there are any Alternative Options

If you’ve had the same prescription for more than a few years, you may have just been having it refilled – often without thinking about the out of pocket costs it incurs. However, once you’re no longer working, you’ll need to do everything you can to keep your out of pocket medical expenses as affordable as possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is to inquire about the possibility of generic medications

Using generic medications can help reduce your monthly prescription expenses by as much as 75%. Another way that you could reduce these costs is by changing to preferred healthcare providers or asking whether any prescription discount cards are available for your medicines. 


Find out about Potential Assistance Programs

When it comes to being able to obtain your prescription medicines at affordable prices each month during retirement, you should never be too shy or afraid to inquire about the possibility of there being any assistance available that could help shoulder the cost. 

Several organizations are available that can provide you with assistance if you’re struggling to cover the cost of your medications. For instance, if you require new prescription glasses, associations such as the Rotarians will often be able to assist you – along with providing an eye exam. The AARP will also be able to provide you with a host of information in this regard as well.

When it comes to keeping your medical expenses as low as possible during your golden years, the saying, “prevention is better than cure,” certainly applies. As such, you should do your part as much as possible by remaining active and consuming a healthy diet. This will help ensure that you’re able to make the most of these precious years without having to worry about trying to cover a multitude of health-related expenses. 

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Are You Ready for Medical Costs During Retirement?

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With retirement comes a new set of concerns. In many cases, we aren’t equipped or ready to deal with retirement, especially when it comes to medical costs. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone if you’re one of the many Americans wondering how they’ll pay for their medical bills if they’re no longer working. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for medical costs during retirement.

Create a Budget

Everyone’s case is different when it comes to how much you’ll need to set aside for medical costs during retirement. Not only must you consider your current economic status and where you project to be when you decide to retire, but you must also account for your current health and the kind of care you’ll need when you retire.

To estimate how much you need to budget for your unique case, there are online calculators that can give you an idea. The safest route is to speak with a financial planner or professional in order to get a more specific budget for your retirement.

Find an Insurance Plan that Works for You

While Medicare offers a variety of resources that you’ll be able to tap into during retirement, there are a number of things that Medicare does not cover. Many Americans assume that Medicare will be enough to cover retirement medical costs, but this is unfortunately, not always the case.

You may want to look into long-term care insurance, hybrid policies, or self-insurance. Although these options may not be perfect for everyone, it is best for you to know what is available, so you can find the policy that fits your economic status and health needs.

A financial professional would also come in handy when shopping for health insurance. They can determine what you can afford, and what is the most beneficial to you.

Have a Retirement Plan

One of the best ways to ensure that you’ll be able to cover medical costs during your retirement is to have a source of income while you’re retired. With Social Security, 401k plans, and savings, there are a number of ways you can guarantee income for your future self.

Saving for your retirement can remove the stress and difficulty of paying off medical bills when you’re no longer working. Not only will you have money to fall back on, but you’ll be able to take care of yourself and enjoy retirement the way you want to, without worrying about the risk.

Retirement can be a scary thing, especially when considering the medical costs. There are a variety of resources to help you plan smartly for your retirement, so you can live comfortably now and when you retire.

One other thing to consider is taking care of yourself while you’re young and in good health. The bottom line is, if you’re healthy to start, the medical costs won’t be too severe.

So before retirement is just around the corner, make sure you have a viable plan, so you can relax when you’re retired. The future you deserves it.

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