Common Healthcare Expenses Seniors Should Prepare For

The Healthcare Expenses Seniors Should Prepare For

As we age, our bodies will go through changes that could limit mobility or immunity to diseases, which makes healthcare even more important and expensive as every medical procedure comes with a cost.

According to an Edward Jones survey, retirees’ top financial worry is whether or not they will be able to pay for their medical and long-term care. That was highlighted as a key issue by more than half of pensioners and two-thirds of workers who planned to retire within the next ten years.

However, 22% of respondents claimed to have budgeted for their medical and long-term care bills, and 68% of workers who would soon be retiring claimed to have yet to learn how much needed to be set aside for those costs.

So in this article, we will help you determine how much you need to save for future healthcare expenses as a senior by guiding you through what they are.

Common Services That Seniors Need To Maintain Well-Being

As you grow older, your changes may require you to have some support, particularly for your caring needs. Several agencies are available to provide these services at a given cost which you may need to prepare for.

Some common services you’ll need to maintain your well-being and health include:

Personal Care

Personal care is one of the most popular services for elders. Assistance with everyday tasks is provided as part of personal care, ranging from minimal touch to intensive daily care. As an illustration of personal care, consider the following:

  • Bathing
  • Getting dressed
  • Moving around
  • Grooming
  • Eating
  • Walking

Seniors may require assistance with personal tasks at various stages in their lives. Changes may influence the requirement for personal care help in mobility, general health, and common medical conditions like arthritis.

Medication Management

Senior citizens frequently take multiple drugs. Managing a medicine plan for seniors at any age can be difficult, and forgetting a dose is a regular issue.

One of the most crucial senior care services is medication management, which ensures seniors receive the medication they require and prevents overdose.

A senior and their doctor can collaborate with a caregiver to create a plan and timetable that works for them. The caregiver will monitor the senior’s medication schedule and ensure they are taken as prescribed.

Nutrition and Meal Support

Malnutrition is a greater danger for older persons. Having trouble with food preparation and grocery shopping can make it more challenging to receive the right nutrients. Seniors may sometimes skip meals due to changes in appetite by certain drugs and medical conditions.

Because of this, nutrition and food support are among the most well-liked services for seniors. To ensure seniors are eating appropriately, a variety of services are offered, including caregivers who prepare meals and professional nutritionists.


A power of attorney given to a dependable family member or loved one can aid certain elders in navigating the difficulties of receiving medical care.

As you age, you may also need to undergo important health screenings to ensure that you are healthy and to detect any diseases you may have. According to WebMD, here are some of the most common medical tests you should have for your 60s and above;

  • Blood pressure
  • Stepping on the scales
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Prostate cancer screening
  • For women, a breast exam and mammogram
  • For women, a pelvic exam, Pap smear, and HPV test
  • Eye check-up
  • Hearing test
  • Bone density test
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Vaccinations
  • Aneurysm screening

Other important tests include;

  • Blood sugar
  • Thyroid hormone test
  • Looking for moles
  • Dental exam
  • Screening Hepatitis C

Unexpected Healthcare Expenses That Seniors Should Plan For

According to an article published by USA Today, when making plans for your future or the future of a senior loved one, there are four healthcare expenses to keep in mind. Many of these are more expensive than you might imagine.

1. Dental care

Unfortunately, Medicare does not provide coverage for either simple or complicated dental care. According to USA Today, “in 2016, the average Medicare enrollee spent $922 on out-of-pocket dental charges,” maintaining healthy gums and teeth comes at a premium.

2. Hearing services

Another aspect of senior healthcare that Medicare does not cover is hearing aids and equipment. According to USA Today, “the cost of a digital hearing aid can range from $1,500 up to $5,000, on average,” such exorbitant costs can rapidly put any elderly person living on a tight budget out of their financial situation.

3. Long-term care

While Medicare does pay some of the costs of long-term care, the coverage varies widely and, in other places, is nonexistent. USA Today says, “Medicare will only pay for a nursing service or your stay in a care facility if it’s related to a medical problem or recovery from a specific medical procedure.” This coverage, however, excludes support for activities of daily living (ADLs), which enable seniors to maintain their independence and live in their homes for longer.

4. Vision care

The expense of “diagnostic and treatment of eye illnesses, injury, or trauma,” such as cataracts and glaucoma, as well as the associated corrective procedures, are covered by Medicare. However, routine eye care, such as yearly exams and glasses, is not covered, and the costs can add up very quickly.

Estimating The Cost Of Retirement Healthcare Expense

According to Fidelity, an average 65-year-old couple retiring in 2020 will require around $295,000 to cover their retirement healthcare costs; the actual amount will undoubtedly be more for some people.

However, they do not consider long-term care, non-Medicare products like hearing aids, over-the-counter drugs, or most dental and vision care services. The calculations that underlie that estimate include both Original Medicare and Medicare Part D coverage. 

According to the Society of Actuaries data, this figure also assumes an average life expectancy, so people who survive into their late 90s or 100s will spend much more on healthcare.

Other considerations include the following;

  • your health state in retirement
  • the cost of medical care where you live,
  • purchase of supplemental insurance policies to cover what Medicare doesn’t

What you should do next

  • Use that $295,000 estimate as a starting point, but remember that you should always add to it, especially if you still have a ways to go before retiring.
  • Now, look up the typical medical costs to establish a benchmark. Then, modify based on your estimated life expectancy, relative health level in retirement, and inflation.
  • Try to overestimate your medical expenses in retirement; you can always leave the surplus to your heirs.

Saving For Retirement Healthcare Costs

While neither the quantity nor the cost of the medical treatment you’ll need as a retiree can be precisely predicted, you may make your out-of-pocket expenses somewhat predictable. This is how;

  • Purchase Medicare supplement plans and insurance coverages that can assist you in covering expenses not covered by the primary government-run plan. Although they have their deductibles, premiums, and occasionally copays, these predictable costs may be simpler to budget for than unforeseen medical bills that must be paid out of pocket.
  • People concerned that they will someday require assistance from a caregiver for daily tasks should also consider long-term care insurance.

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  • If you’re qualified for one and have some spare cash after saving for your other retirement costs, consider contributing to a health savings account (HSA). HSAs are intended to assist you in paying for medical expenses at any age.

U.S. News & World Report also offered the following steps to help you prepare for and minimize your healthcare costs in retirement:

  • Recognize the costs and take calculated steps to close any gaps.
  • Save money in a health savings account tax-free.
  • Make the most of each year’s Medicare open enrollment.
  • When you retire, challenge the Medicare high-income surcharge.
  • Utilize additional strategies to control your healthcare spending.
  • Make a strategy for the cost of long-term care.

Bottom Line

A large portion of a retirement budget may be spent on medical expenses. Calculating these costs and developing a spending plan will help you keep more of your retirement funds for other costs. You may also visit our Guide to Finance for Seniors to help you get started on your financial planning journey for retirement