KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Healthy Retirees Pay More For Health Care Over The Long Term

A new study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that people "who enter retirement in good health are likely to pay more for medical expenses throughout the rest of their life than those who retire after developing a chronic condition," writes U.S. News & World Report. "While couples who retire without any chronic conditions have lower initial health care costs, they may also live longer than average and go on to incur greater health care costs over their lifetime, the study found. ... The researchers calculated that a couple turning 65 in 2009 in which one or both spouses suffer from a chronic disease is likely to have lifetime health care costs totaling $220,000. A 65-year-old couple without any health problems can expect to spend $260,000 on health costs throughout retirement" (Brandon, 5/12).

MarketWatch: "In running a simulation, Boston College found that individuals who are free of any chronic diseases at age 80 can expect to spend one-third of their remaining life suffering from one or more such diseases." In addition, "people in healthy households face a higher lifetime risk of requiring nursing-home care than those who are unhealthy. That reflects their greater risk of surviving to advanced old age, when the need for such care is highest" (Powell, 5/13).

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