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Time for women to 'get real' about their retirement health costs

Published: Friday, June 28 2013 11:39 a.m. MDT

Women are likely to spend 50 percent more for health care in retirement than the typical man. Forbes contributor Kerry Hannon has seven tips to help women cut down their health care costs, and prepare for retirement.

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Kerry Hannon says women need to think more carefully about their retirement health care costs.

In her article, “Women: get real about retirement health costs” for Forbes, Hannon references a study by professors Allison Hoffman and Howell Jackson that shows women tend to underestimate their future health care costs more than men.

“When the researchers asked 1,700 near-retirees and retirees how much they expect their out-of-pocket health expenses to total in the future, the projections from female participants were 50 percent lower than the estimates of their male counterparts,” Hannon wrote.

“But medical experts estimate that the typical woman will actually spend 50 percent more for health care in retirement than the typical man.”

To help women plan their retirement health care, Hannon gives seven tips to help them “get a grip” on their retirement health expenses:

  1. Be certain to budget for health costs, including long-term care.
  2. Find a financial pro to help estimate health costs in retirement and beef up your savings.
  3. Build a good-sized emergency fund — and don’t let it dissipate.
  4. Open a health savings account.
  5. Work part-time in retirement, if you can.
  6. Take advantage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
  7. Get healthy, and stay that way.
“It is extremely important that health care costs are factored into retirement savings strategies today,” said Brad Kimler, executive vice president of Fidelity’s Benefits Consulting business in Hannon's article. “So that retirees can be prepared to pay their medical bills through retirement.”

Read more about women's retirement on Forbes .

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