KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Retirees Face Big Challenges On Health Costs

The Associated Press/Philadelphia Inquirer: Most are Clueless On Retirement's Health-Care Costs
A survey by Sun Life Financial, released this week, found that 92 percent of workers said they don't know how much their health care will cost in retirement or vastly underestimated the amount. Only 8 percent were in the correct range, estimating costs of $200,000 or more. In fact, a 65-year-old couple retiring this year will need $230,000, on average, to cover medical expenses in retirement, according to a separate Fidelity Investments study released in March. That doesn't include most dental services, or long-term care, such as nursing-home expenses (Pitt, 5/7).

Boston Globe: Uneasy Times For Retirees
As a retired public schoolteacher, Marie Ardito worries that state legislation to limit the power of municipal unions to negotiate health care costs will take an unfair toll on public sector retirees. ... State law does not allow public retirees to bargain health benefits. Most receive the same benefit levels as the municipal workforce. But since many are senior citizens living on fixed incomes, increases in copays, deductibles, and other elements of health plans can be tough medicine. "People who have real serious health issues are the ones being hurt by this stuff," said Ardito, a Burlington resident who retired 12 years ago from the Billerica school system. ... The Massachusetts House voted last month to strip public employee unions of most of the authority to negotiate changes to health insurance (McCabe, 5/8).

Voice of San Diego: City Reaches Landmark Health Care Deal
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders announced a landmark and long-awaited deal with city labor unions Friday to cut health care benefits for current employees when they retire. The agreement tames a cost that had spiraled out of control for three decades, but won't gain immediate savings for the city's cash-starved budget. ... The growing cost of health care promises to retirees is one of three financial nooses that have threatened to strangle San Diego's solvency (Dillon, 5/6).

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