Submitted by Priceonomics
Imagine working your entire life with the plan to retire at the age of 65, only to declare bankruptcy due to medical costs and losing all your assets.
This isn’t some unlikely nightmare scenario; the rate of senior citizens declaring bankruptcy has more than doubled since 1999, and the leading cause is high healthcare costs. Despite the existence of Medicare insurance for seniors, it doesn’t cover all costs and healthcare can be extremely expensive, especially as you age.
In this analysis, we decided to look at the most recent data on how healthcare spending increases as you age along with Priceonomics customer RegisteredNursing.org. The goal of this is for people to understand just how much higher healthcare costs are the older you get and how sensitive they are to medical inflation rates.
By the time you reach 65 years old, average healthcare costs are $11.3K per person, per year in the United States. This is nearly triple the annual average cost of when you’re in your 20s and 30s. During your adult lifetime, average spending for women is nearly twice as high as for men. Healthcare spending for minority groups like Black and Hispanic Americans is approximately 30% less than on White Americans.
During one’s lifetime, over $400K will be spent on the average American’s healthcare in today’s dollars. And that is if medical costs rise as the same rate as inflation. If medical costs rise at 3% more than inflation, your healthcare will cost over $2MM, the vast majority of which will take place after the age of 45.
Even if your insurance company or Medicare covers most of that bill, the typical American can still be on the hook for a very large sum of money to cover their healthcare costs as they age.
The Department of Health and Human Services commissions a detailed survey of medical costs dating back to 1999 all the way up to 2016 most recently. The data set, The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), provides detailed healthcare spending data segmented by age and demographics, among other things. The spending figures noted as total average spending per individual, regardless of who is paying it (the insurance company, the individual directly, or some combination between).
When budgeting for your retirement, it’s tempting to think your costs may be much lower in old age. Afterall, your kids may (hopefully) be financially self-sufficient adults and the mortgage on your …read more