But everyone is terrified about health costs when they get older

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Want to pay less in your golden years? Just be a man.

For healthy women to live an average of 89 years and retire at 65 this year, it’ll probably cost them $235,526 in insurance premiums, according to a new survey from HealthView Services — a retirement health care cost data company. Meanwhile, it’ll cost healthy men $199,946 to live until their average age of 87. Those two years mean saving $35,580 over a woman.

“Living longer is both a blessing and a curse for women when it comes to health care,” says Ron Mastrogiovanni, founder and CEO of HealthView. “Health care costs for women and men are, on average, very similar during our lifetimes; however, because women live longer, they will have more years to pay premiums and other out-of-pocket costs.”

Although women will eventually pay more, it doesn’t mean that either group is ready for getting old. Nationwide says 70 percent of Americans are “terrified” about health care costs when they hit retirement.

“Year after year Americans cite health care costs as a major source of anxiety, particularly as they approach retirement,” says John Carter, president of Nationwide’s retirement plans business. “Americans know changes are coming and they don’t have a clear sense yet of what health care costs will look like in the future, and that is adding to the uneasiness people were already feeling about this important issue.”

The struggle for women

Women are already struggling to earn as much as men even in low-wage jobs, so as they get older into their retirement years, the cost of living will hurt them as they will live longer.

The HealthView study shows women will face a harder time to stay healthy in retirement. As women save and earn less money, because of their lower earnings, when collecting Social Security.

“Women over age 65 received approximately $13,150 in annual Social Security benefits; compared to about $17,106 for men of the same age,” the study says. When it comes to savings, the study cites a 2015 Vanguard report where women’s account balances were an average of $43,690 less than men.

Women, who will balance work and family life more than their male counterparts and will earn less over their lifetime, will also outlive them as well. The study suggests women should save more money, but because they are putting more money toward their families while earning less, it’s much more of a struggle for women to invest in their long-term health care than men.

The struggle for everyone

While women face a harder time saving for health care costs later in life; it doesn’t mean men have it very easy. Nationwide says one-third of pre-retirement Americans admit they aren’t doing anything right now to save for health care costs when they get older. Another third say they wouldn’t be able to afford a $500 medical bill if something happened to them today.

“As workers prepare for retirement without savings it’s not surprising they are quite fearful,” Carter says. “Relatively common expenses, such as X-rays, can be close to $1,000 in out-of-pocket costs.”

Beyond not saving for retirement, half of older adults aren’t even discussing the problem with anyone.

“Older Americans seem to be paralyzed by their fears when it comes to addressing health care costs in retirement,” Carter says. “In a day and age with so many unknowns around health care; it can be easy to avoid the conversation. But that is the first and most important step to ensuring you and your family have a plan for future care.”

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Retirement

health, health insurance, IRA, save money

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Article last modified on September 12, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Ladies Pay More for Retirement Health Care Than Men - AMP.