Life Inc: Health care costs for retirees could top $100,000

By Allison Linn, senior business writer

If you want to stay healthy in retirement, you better start saving your pennies.

Even with Medicare coverage, new research finds that 65-year-olds who retire this year could need more than $100,000 to cover co-pays, premiums and other non-reimbursed medical expenses through retirement.

The costs are likely to be higher for women than men because women tend to live longer, according to the report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Of course, everyone has different health care needs, and no one really knows what their health will be like in retirement, so there are a lot of uncertainties. And although the researchers believe that the recently passed health care reform bill will reduce some costs for retirees, they say out of pocket expenses remain substantial.

If you are comfortable with a 50 percent chance of having enough money saved for health expenses, the report finds that a man retiring in 2010 at age 65 with average health care expenditures would need $65,000 in savings. A woman in the same circumstances needs $93,000.

Read more at Lifeinc.todayshow.com

The “New” Old Age: Paying for the ‘Institutionalized Spouse’

Caring for a chronically ill spouse sometimes means that medical need separate spouses and financial burden. In this blog post at The New Old Age, elderlaw attorney Craig Reaves discusses information caregivers and families need to know.

By CRAIG REAVES

Craig Reaves, past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, practices in Kansas City, Mo., and on occasion fields questions from New Old Age readers. You may submit your question to newoldage@nytimes.com. Please limit your inquiries to general legal issues; Mr. Reaves can’t offer personal legal advice.

Q.What happens when one half of a married couple is retired and in need of expensive nursing home care while a younger spouse is still working and earning income? Are there options for protecting any of the income or accumulated wealth (such as retirement accounts) of the younger spouse? Or does it all have to go to pay for the care of the one who’s ill?

A.There’s no simple, legal way to shelter your income or most of your wealth in this circumstance. Spouses have a legal duty to support each other. The income or assets of a working spouse (known in the Medicaid world as the “community spouse”) must be used for the care of the spouse in the nursing home (in official parlance, the “institutionalized spouse”).

Couples who find themselves in this situation essentially have three options.

Read more here at The New York Times “New Old Age” blog

Budgeting for In-Home Care

From the Right at Home website.

Mom isn’t ready for assisted living. She wants to stay in her own home. Yet, the need for help with the activities of daily living, such as housekeeping, meal preparation and shopping, is becoming more clear by the week. It may be time to consider in-home care to preserve her independence and physical health.

Here are some of the benefits that in-home care can offer:

* Senior home care services preserve seniors’ self-sufficiency, social connections, and the activities in the community that have sustained them emotionally as well as physically.

* It can be more cost effective to use in-home care than to move and pay monthly assisted living fees.

* Staying in the home by using senior home care services promotes the highest level of functioning and health among familiar and comforting surroundings.

Read more here