Health Costs Cut Savings for Retirement

By Kleyman, Paul | Aging Today, November/December 2004 | Go to article overview

Health Costs Cut Savings for Retirement


Kleyman, Paul, Aging Today


Many people in the United States say they are dipping into savings accounts and reducing retirement savings to pay for rising healthcare costs, according to the 2004 Health Confidence Survey released in October by the Employee Ben- , efits Research Institute (EBRI). The annual survey found that healthcare now ranks as the nation's most critical issue, statistically equal with terrorism and national security.

FINANCIAL PAIN

Dallas Salisbury, CEO for EBRI, stated, "Americans are coping with the rising cost of healthcare in a variety of ways, but it is clear that rising health costs are causing financial pain among many, and are leading to a reduction in savings in general and retirement savings in particular." Although those surveyed are generally satisfied with the quality of medical care they have received this year, their dissatisfaction with the healthcare system as a whole is increasing, the study found, and "concerns are growing among Americans about their ability to afford quality healthcare in the future."

Almost two-thirds (64%) of survey participants saw their health-insurance premiums rise in the past two years, and , about half experienced rising charges for prescription drugs (54%), doctor visits (49%) and insurance déductibles (43%). A quarter of those experiencing cost increases say "they have reduced retirement savings contributions because of growing medical bills.

In addition, nearly half (48%) report reducing other savings, and about one in five (18%) say medical bills are making it more difficult to pay for food, housing or other necessities. …

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