Paying for health care in retirement


If you’re concerned about rising health-care costs in retirement, you’re not alone:

3 out of 4 people agree that the growing cost of health care is one of their top fears in retirement1

70% of adults are unsure or can’t estimate how much they expect to pay for health care costs in retirement1

By one estimate, an average 65-year-old couple retiring today could spend up to $315,000 on health care costs in retirement.2

Where does the money go?

  • Medicare, supplemental Medicare plans and private health insurance; costs include premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance
  • Health care that Medicare and other health insurance may not cover, such as long-term care, dental care, vision care and hearing aids 
  • Prescription medications

5 ways to plan ahead

Planning now can help you prepare for these expenses and make them feel more manageable.

Consider these ideas.

  1. Review your retirement benefits with your employer. You may have health-care benefits available to you and your dependents after you retire. Benefits like these can significantly reduce your health-care costs in retirement. 
  2. Factor in Medicare and other health-insurance premiums when setting your retirement savings goal. Monthly premiums account for a significant portion of healthcare spending in retirement.3 To see current premiums, visit
  3. Earmark a portion of your savings for out-of-pocket costs. This includes everything outside of premiums, like deductibles and non-covered care. These less-predictable expenses can account for 20% or more of health-care spending for retirees.3 Having money reserved to cover them can give you peace of mind.
  4. Take advantage of a Health Savings Account (HSA) if your employer offers one. Money you set aside in an HSA can be used for qualified medical expenses tax-free both now and after you retire. In 2024, annual contribution limits (including employer contributions) are $4,150 for individuals and $8,300 for a family. If you’re 55 or older, you can make additional $1,000 catch-up contributions each year.
  5. Take care of yourself. Improving or maintaining your health now could help cut down on medical expenses in the future.
Ready to plan for health care costs in retirement? Talk to a Retirement Specialist today.

[1] The Nationwide Retirement Institute® 2022 Health Care Cost in Retirement Survey (Oct. 2022) Microsoft PowerPoint - NFM-21188AO.1 (
[2] “Projected Savings Medicare Beneficiaries Need for Health Expenses Remained High in 2022,” EBRI Issue Brief, no. 549 (February 9, 2023).
[3] “How much do retirees spend on uncertain health costs?,” Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (August 2022). How Much Do Retirees Spend on Uncertain Health Costs? (