Retirees face average of $250,000 in medical bills during retirement

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Married seniors planning to retire this year may face $250,000 in medical bill over the course of their retirement. That does not include long-term care or nursing home costs, according to a study by Fidelity Investments.

The average cost of seniors' medical bills has risen faster than any other expense retirees face, according to Thursday's report. When the Fidelity study released its first such report in 2002, average medical costs were estimated at $160,000. The report projects costs for a couple of married seniors, aged 65, enrolled in Medicare with no supplemental employment insurance. It also assumes the woman will live to age 85, and the man to age 82. Long-term care costs, such as nursing home care, are not factored into the annual Fidelity Investments report, though a 2008 study from the investment firm projected that a 65-year-old couple would need $85,000 on average to cover those costs.

The Fidelity report does not factor in changes to Medicare and Medicaid made under the new healthcare reform laws. Report authors note, however, that closing the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole would only yield modest savings for seniors throughout their retirement.