Planning for Health Care in Your Retirement

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09.21.06, 12:00 AM ET

THURSDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) — With the oldest baby boomers turning 60 this year, millions of Americans may soon reach the sobering conclusion that they haven’t set aside enough money to cover their health-care costs in retirement.

Increasingly, companies are eliminating retiree health benefits or cutting back coverage. Even if you are one of the fortunate few to have an employer-sponsored health plan, you may encounter significant cost-sharing. And if you plan to retire before you become eligible for Medicare, you may have to pay the entire premium on your own.

“Just like you’re not going to get the gold watch, you’re not going to get the benefits that your father and grandfather got” when they retired, said Tracey A. Baker, vice president of Cooper, Jones & McLeland Ltd., a financial planning firm in Fairfax, Va.

Baker, a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), said health-care costs are often retirees’ second largest expense after the mortgage. Yet most Americans aren’t as knowledgeable as they need to be about what their insurance covers and what Medicare does and does not cover.

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