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Health care costs for retirees could top $100,000

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.

But if you’re the cautious type and would like to have a 90 percent chance of having enough money to cover your out-of-pocket expenses, the report suggests that men with average health care expenditures should have $124,000 set aside, while women need $152,000.

Even those few people who are still lucky enough to get employee-sponsored health care benefits in retirement should be setting aside similar amounts of money to pay for premiums and other non-covered expenses, according to the report.

For many Americans, just scraping together enough money to pay for daily expenses in retirement is a burden enough. A report released in October found that four in 10 Americans plan to delay retirement because they can’t afford to stop working.