Health care costs are increasing at a higher rate than Social Security increases, setting retirees up for a crisis if proper planning is not done now, says new data from HealthView Services.
In 10 years, 98 percent of an average couple’s Social Security benefit will be needed to cover health care costs, says HealthView, a research organization for health care issues. In 20 years, health care costs will exceed the average Social Security payment. The report, "Addressing the Retirement Health Care Cost Crisis: Cost Management Strategies," was released Tuesday.
Health care costs are increasing at a rate of 5 percent to 7 percent a year while Social Security goes up 2 percent or less. This leaves an educational vacuum that can be filled by advisors, but so far advisors have not jumped in to fill that role, HealthView says.
“Until recently, retirement health care costs haven’t been included in retirement planning for several reasons,” says Ron Mastrogiovanni, founder and CEO of HealthView Services. “First of all many clients mistakenly believe Medicare will cover all or part of their health care costs in retirement. Meanwhile, their advisors--who have been focused on rebuilding assets after the financial crisis--haven’t had the tools to calculate healthcare costs for individuals.”
In reality, Medicare covers about 51 percent of the average couple’s health care costs, and there will be pressure in the future to increase the cost of Medicare to recipients, HealthView says. Advisors who can help their clients determine future costs and prepare for them will be in the best position to help clients.
A recent survey of nearly 1,800 financial advisors, Financial Advisor magazine’s Retirement Planning Survey 2014, showed only 13 percent of advisors are now offering clients extensive advice on health care. Sixty-three percent are providing limited advice and 24 percent are offering no health care cost advice.
“We believe that having actuarial-based cost data for individuals, allocating funds for retirement health care costs, managing retirement income and optimizing Social Security, among other strategies, can increase retirement security,” Mastrogiovanni says. “Saving for health care may not be the goal most boomers had in mind when they first started saving for retirement, but given expected health care costs in retirement, it needs to be among the top priorities.”