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Health-Care Costs in Retirement Rise to $240,000
CNBC.com | May 09, 2012 | 10:16 AM EDT

Americans are making a dangerous assumption: that their current retirement savings will be enough to cover health-care costs.

Two new reports, released this week from Fidelity Investments and Nationwide Financial show Americans drastically underestimate how much they will spend out-of-pocket on health-care costs during retirement.

According to Fidelity, couples retiring this year will need, on average, $240,000 to cover medical expenses throughout retirement, or an out-of-pocket cost of up to $10,750 per year. This is 4 percent more than those who retired a year ago.

Most Americans, however, only anticipate spending about $5,621 a year, according to Nationwide’s survey.

“Many people don’t have a good grasp of actual health-care costs because they’ve only paid for a small component – the larger portion of those costs are provided through their employers. Most have never paid the full charge of a health-care bill,” said John Carter, president of Nationwide Financial.

Meanwhile, medical inflation has been persistently growing. Fidelity’s estimate was an increase of 6 percent annually since its initial calculation of $160,000 in 2002. Comparatively, the latest reading of the Consumer Price Index , which tracks overall inflation, was only up 2.7 percent.

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