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Navigating Retirement Health Costs: Tips from Certified Financial Planners

Cheryl Costa, a certified financial planner in Framingham, talks more about Retirement Health Costs, She said that the projections might seem scary but that it could help to think about the estimates in annual or monthly costs, rather than a lump sum. Over 20 years, Fidelity’s average estimate works out to about $656 a month — not out of line with what you may already be paying for health care, she said.

“Keep it in perspective,” she said.

Carolyn McClanahan, a certified financial planner in Jacksonville, Fla., said that there were many variables in health care costs, and that future changes to Medicare rules were unpredictable. So rather than focusing on generic estimates to save for retirement health costs, she said, people should consider their specific situation, including what they currently pay for health care, their general health status, their family history and how much health care they use.

“What is your health care mind-set?” Ms. McClanahan said. If you don’t go to the doctor that often and you’re exercising and maintaining a healthy weight, your out-of-pocket costs in retirement may be lower and you can budget accordingly, she said.

Here are some questions and answers about health costs in retirement:

Health savings accounts, or H.S.A.s, offer valuable tax advantages and can be a great way to save for retiree medical costs, financial advisers say — if you qualify to contribute to one. You must be enrolled in a high-deductible health care plan, with a specific annual deductible (at least $1,500 for individual coverage in 2023).

Money is deposited pretax, grows tax free and isn’t taxed when you withdraw it, as long as you spend it on eligible expenses. An individual can contribute up to $3,850 in 2023, plus an extra $1,000 for those over 55. (Once you enroll in Medicare, you can no longer contribute to an H.S.A., but you can use the funds to pay for health and medical expenses.)

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