Smart financial planning should take into account rising medical costs, as witness a recent report that found the average annual premium for family coverage through an employer increased 9 percent over last year, topping $15,000 for the first time. Premiums for single coverage rose 8 percent over 2010.
No wonder that 50 percent of today’s workers are “not too” or “not at all” confident about having enough money in their retirement to pay for their medical expenses, according to the 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefits Research Institute.
Contending with one’s own health, the health of a spouse or a family catastrophe rank high among the personal concerns of investors surveyed by Millionaire Corner. Not surprisingly, seniors over the age of 65 are considerably more concerned than their younger counterparts about these issues. Seventy percent, for example, are concerned about the health of their spouse vs. 54 percent of those under the age of 55.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust 2011 Employer Health benefits survey, 60 percent of businesses offer health benefits to their workers, down from 69 percent reported in 2010.
But not all workers are covered, either because they are not eligible to enroll due to waiting periods or minimum work-hour rules, or because they may have access to coverage through a spouse.
Typically, companies and employees split premiums for employer-sponsored coverage. Many businesses, hit with health care cost increases, have frozen retirement account contributions or given employees a smaller wage increase which may not cover rising health are costs. “(Workers) basically are giving their pay raise to the health system, Helen Darling, CEO of the nonprofit National Business Group on Health, told the Associated Press.
In planning for the future, experts recommend make an honest appraisal of your financial situation and what you expect your retirement income will be, take an inventory of health care needs from frequency of doctor visits to prescribed medications, as well as make appropriate health and lifestyle changes. Most important, it is never to soon to start planning.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.