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Healthcare Costs Worry Even the Affluent

By Alex Padalka June 27, 2018

The majority of older affluent Americans, despite their relative wealth, are afraid of healthcare costs, according to a recent survey from Nationwide Retirement Institute.

In a survey of 1,007 adults over 50 with a household income of $150,000 or more, Nationwide found that “out-of-control health care costs” top their fears about retirement.

And 64% say they’re “terrified” of how those costs could affect their retirement plans, according to the survey.

Despite their relatively high income, 67% of the respondents intend to, or currently already use, Medicare, while 63% plan to use or already use Social Security to help them cover healthcare expenses in retirement, Nationwide found.

There’s certainly reason to be concerned for a lot of Americans. Twenty-seven percent of respondents, for example, say they couldn’t cover anything over $1,000 in unexpected expenses, and 60% couldn’t cover more than $5,000, according to the survey.

Nonetheless, most Americans are being proactive about healthcare. Eighty-seven percent are taking some sort of action, with 59% bulking up their savings, 56% investing, 46% boosting their 401(k) contributions and 36% paying off loans and credit cards, Nationwide found.

Financial advisors may have to bring up the topic of healthcare in retirement before their clients do. Fifty-two percent of the survey’s respondents who work with a financial advisor, for example, say they haven’t breached healthcare with the advisor, although that’s slightly down from the 54% who said so last year. And one in three affluent adults has never had a conversation about healthcare with anyone at all, according to the survey.