Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

The High Cost of Growing Older

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Mar• 16•10

In America, your health care expenses are taken care of when you get older…right?  We have Medicare after all…shouldn’t that pay for all my healthcare expenses?

Not according to a recent article from Yahoo! Finance.  Here are some of the health care costs retirees face:

  • Part B Premiums: For most people retiring in 2010, the Medicare Part B monthly premium is $110.50 per month.  Retirees who earn more than $85,000 annually ($170,000 for couples) pay higher premiums of up to $353.60 monthly.
  • Part D Premiums: These average about $30 per month.
  • Cost Sharing: Medicare enrollees pay a 20% coinsurance rate for physician and outpatient services.  Plus, there is no out of pocket maximum.  Hospital stays have a $1,100 deductible.  If the hospital stay is more than two months, beneficiaries must pay an additional $275 per day for days 61 through 90, $550 for days 91 to 150, and all costs after that.
  • Uncovered Expenses: These include items such as dental care, eyeglasses, and hearing aids.
  • Long Term Care: Medicare pays for a maximum of 100 days of nursing home care before retirees absorb the entire cost themselves. When nursing-home costs are included, the amount needed for a typical couple’s medical bills increases from $197,000 to $260,000 with a 5 percent risk of exceeding $570,000, according to Boston College estimates.  Only those dual-eligibles also covered by Medicaid will have their long-term care services covered for the most part.
  • Healthcare Inflation: Median out-of-pocket costs for the typical senior are expected to rise from about $2,600 in 2010 to $6,200 in 2040 in constant 2008 dollars, according to a recent Urban Institute report.

The morale of the story is either be rich (and have lots of money stashed away) or be poor (and have Medicaid take care of your long-term care expenses).

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