Survey: Most Americans Underestimate Retirement Healthcare Costs

This is the new retirement plan: Work out, eat right and hope that you can keep healthcare costs to a minimum.

Americans are so freaked out at the prospect of going broke to pay medical bills that the majority of them are making lifestyle changes now, according to the Sun Life Financial (SLF) "Flying Blind" survey released Wednesday. A whopping 53% reported dieting and exercising more, quitting smoking or reducing stress in order to reduce medical costs later. And it's not just the 40 to 50 crowd -- thirty-somethings are also taking action.

They'd better do something, given how clueless the majority of those surveyed were in terms of how much healthcare would cost during their golden years. More than 90% didn't have a clue as to how much money they'll spend on healthcare after leaving the workforce. About 75% are not formulating any kind of strategy to meet expenses from illness or even the common maladies of old age. And 43% reported being "not at all confident" that they will meet healthcare costs.

"People will live happier, more fulfilling lives in retirement if they can better plan for unforeseen healthcare needs," said Janet White House, senior vice president and general manager of Sun Life Financial's Individual Life Insurance Division. "If you take action because you've reasonably anticipated your future healthcare needs, your sense of well-being increases, and you can focus on living life to the fullest."

So it looks like it's time to dust off the stationary bike and put the cake back in the fridge, America. Your retirement plan awaits you.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Introduction to Preferred Shares

Learn the difference between preferred and common shares.

View Course »

What is Inflation?

Why do prices go up?

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

your right country but whats needed more is that we increase taxes and pay down the debt. Go back to the Clinton taxe scale and pay the bill then look at cutting taxes again.
If my bills are too high I am forced to come up with more income to pay them. Need to realize that we are the governments only sorce of income and the bills belong to us.
We must tell our represenitives to get a handle on spending and stop pointing fingers. Just do the damn job there are suspose to be doing All either parties are interested in is who has the power

May 05 2011 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Sherwyn's comment

There isn't enough money in the country to finance the Dem out of control spending.

May 06 2011 at 10:27 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

bornjem is correct medicare is not free.
I signed my wife up for it when she retired and started collecting social security. They started taking out 97.00 a month from her already small amount of SS.
She was still covered under my health care from my job so I canceled her medicare. We nned to let the GOP know its not an entitlement and tell them to stop calling it that. They make us look like a bunch of free loaders.

May 05 2011 at 10:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This is a dumb statement if you ask me.
How in the world can anyone estimate health care cost when the cost keeps jumping up and up. Also we dont even know what kind of health care will be around in the up coming years
We need a fixed tax rate so all people earnings are taxed at the same rate and no deductions or anyone. Cut the lopeholes for the rich.
If anyone should not pay taxes its retired people with income of 25000.00 or less per year.

May 05 2011 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Type your comment hereThis is just dumb.How in the world can anyone estimate health care keeps jumping up and we dont even know what kind will be around?

May 05 2011 at 10:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Doctors and Nurses don't make the huge salaries in Europe. A nurse in europe is paid about the same as a secretary. In America they make what engineers make. Doctors in Europe only make about 20% more than engineers. In america they average 4 times that of an engineer. Forcing americans to purchase health insurance did nothing to reign in the high cost in America. Insurance companies make a lot of profit. The base their profit on the actual health care cost + a profit. The real problem is that themedical system in America is a for profit system. In the rest of the world it is not.

May 05 2011 at 4:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jkcow's comment

It's a twisted cycle... Let's skip the high costs of a medical degree in the US, which doctors have to recoup and repay loans... or daddy's trust fund?

But, the repub thoughts about TORT reform also are about insurance costs. Doctors pay a lot for malpractice insurance. And let's face it, people will sue for $1million over a misdiagnosed hangnail... and our court system will award it to them.

So, an insurance company sells expensive malpractice insurance to doctors, who pass on the expense to patients, who pay high premiums to.... an INSURANCE COMPANY!!!

And you're absolutely right about doctor salaries in other countries. Here's the catch... Most of those countries have state run healthcare, and the state dictates salaries. Since doctor salaries have long been what they are in those countries, it'll stay that way. But, it's pretty much a guarantee that trying to cut doctor salaries here will result in far fewer applications to medical schools.

May 05 2011 at 6:47 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Amazing that the "greatest" country in the world is the ONLY one where you can lose your home,life savings or just die because you got sick..This doesn't happen in Canada,Great Britain,Spain,France,Japan etc.,etc. Is it any wonder that the United nations rates the United States healthcare system at 30the in the world.. We also rank 40th in life expectancy.. We also spend more per person on access to healthcare than any country in the world..Meanwhile insurance companies make billions in profits..When are the American people going to say enough is enough????

May 05 2011 at 2:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to teb829's comment

I have worked in the healthcare industry for over 40 years and know for a fact what you say is true. The missing item is that we all pay for the uninsured when they enter an emergency room; and that cost is about 15 times more than it would cost had the individual visited his/her doctor when the medical problem was first noticed. Waiting because of lack of insurance only makes things worse.

May 05 2011 at 3:53 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

One of the only rational posts. People are too busy getting brainwashed by the insurance companies and calling everyone else communists....

May 05 2011 at 4:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Unfortunately, many people don't realize that Medicare is not free because the government refers to it as an "entitlement." I had to retire early due to a disability and, although I have Medicare coverage and lower priced supplemental and prescription plans, I still pay $250.00 per month before any deductible or copays. The government should make it clear... Medicare is a subsidized healthcare plan, NOT FREE HEALTHCARE!

May 05 2011 at 11:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bornjem's comment

How much would it cost you if you didn't have it.

May 05 2011 at 12:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It is also difficult to judge how much or how many of those miracle drugs or DNA research and manipulation will take place in the next decades. I guess one can bet the FDA will not approve some cure drugs for another 30-40 years of testing. And your article does not mention anything about the effects of future "mercy killing". With that there is no planning needed on medical cost anymore than paying for the funeral ahead of time. Too many variables in major areas of outcomes. So this article is just another informercial for the insurance, financial and banking industry. Sorry, I don't buy it.

May 05 2011 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Too bad you didnt go into the Army for a few years. I am very thankful for my VA coverage. Well yes there are a few long waits if you need an emergency.

May 05 2011 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Enjoy life NOW! Too many people say "when I retire".......whatever your interests, passions, likes them...have no regrets when your time is up. If there is something you have always wanted to do you can find away. I

May 05 2011 at 8:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply