A healthy 65-year-old couple retiring this year can expect to pay $387,644 in lifetime health-care costs in today's dollars, according to research by HealthView Services, a provider of health-care cost projection software.

The couple’s total annual premium and out-of-pocket expenses in the first year of retirement, excluding long-term care, will be $12,286. In 20 years, at the age of 85, they will need $34,268 to cover these costs, the research said.

Younger people will have it worst, the report said. Couples who are now in their 40s and 50s can expect to dish out $455,866 and $405,241, respectively, in retirement, respectively, due to compounding effect of health-care inflation, projected at 4.41 percent, the research showed.

The report noted that although annual health-care costs will be greater for retirees in poor health, lifetime expenses generally will be higher for healthier retirees because, on average, they are expected to live longer.

For example, the report said, a healthy 55-year-old woman living to her actuarial longevity of 89 will pay an average of $3,470 more per year in medical-related costs than if she were not healthy. That amounts to $210,601 in lifetime health-care expenses in today's dollars, the report said. If she has type 2 diabetes, her actuarial longevity will be 80 and her projected total costs would be far lower.

“Americans are not powerless when it comes to planning for future health-care costs,” Ron Mastrogiovanni, CEO of HealthView Services and HealthyCapital, said in a prepared statement. “Taking steps to improve health can reduce annual medical expenses. Investing these savings, increasing contributions to retirement plans, and working with an advisor to optimize product selection with health care in mind can significantly reduce this retirement burden.”   

The research cited data from Rand Corporation showing that 50 percent of the adult population in the U.S. suffers from a chronic condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol, and noted that many in this population fail to make behavioral changes or follow doctors’ orders for taking medication.

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