Does keeping healthy really reduce the costs of living in retirement or does it actually increase those costs because improved health leads to longer life? A recent brief from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College reported new findings on average lifetime health care costs at selected ages and on the distribution of those costs. The main finding is that although the current health care costs of healthy retirees are lower than those of the unhealthy, the healthy actually face higher total health care costs over their remaining lifetime. Individuals currently in good health would be unwise to think that they will continue to enjoy lower than average health care costs. Odds are that even those who are currently healthy will suffer from some type of chronic disease which would result in high out-of-pocket and long-term care costs.
- A typical healthy couple at age 65 can expect to spend $260,000 with a 5-percent risk of exceeding $570,000.
- A typical unhealthy couple can expect to spend $220,000 with a 5-percent risk of exceeding $465,000.
- Those in good health live longer, eventually become less healthy, and often need nursing home care.