5 Replies Latest reply on Feb 20, 2012 4:32 PM by casmus

    Fixed retirement health expenses

      Be sure to stash away enough money to cover predictable medical expenses: ~$5000/person for one set of hearing aids; $3000+/person for dentures; $500+/person/year for eyewear. Most insurance and medicare will not cover these expenses and they hit when you can least afford them. As far as I know, there is no flex medical spending, tax deferred plan offered for the elderly retired. To get tax deferral on these contingency savings, consider putting the money into the TIAA/CREF money fund of your retirement account. In addition, your medical expenses, with medicare and insurance, will still blow you out of the water, so try to transfer some retirement funds to your medical savings to cover these. Interest is not much now. But it will probably rise soon. At any rate, the lack of earnings you might incur will be far exceeded by the usary lending rates of the companies that loan you money to pay for hearing aids, dentures, eyeglasses, etc.
        • Re: Fixed retirement health expenses

          Great advice ggazcamper!  We are actually preparing our home for our retirement years.  But this is sound advice that we have not considered.

          • Re: Fixed retirement health expenses
            That's useful advice.  
            You can probably save several hundred on eyeglasses by going with online providers such as Zenni, Peerless, or many others.   There are online hearing aid providers (complete with online hearing tests), if you are adventurous.  It may be a while before online (or do-it-yourself) dentistry is a prudent choice. 
            • Re: Fixed retirement health expenses
              I just figure that as I get older if my glasses don't work anymore I'll just see less, and as I hear less, perhaps I'll talk less and just go for more walks.
              My dad died at 94 and never needed glasses or hearing aid..might have helped him a bit but he still could read the newspaper with a magnifying glass at 94.\
              Prepare for the worst, but look for the best.
                • Re: Fixed retirement health expenses
                  My MIL sees poorly and hears worse, and it has done nothing but harm to the quality of her life.
                  Denying one's aging does no one any favors, least of all for family members and friends.
                  My MIL has fallen with increasing frequency because one's depth perception and ability to see shades of gray declines - but she denies there's anything wrong with her and thinks she has many years yet before she's 'old enough to need a nursing home.' She engages in risky behavior while walking but is unaware of it because her vision precludes her from seeing potential hazards.
                  Her poor hearing is probably one of the factors in her increasing dementia. The more isolated one becomes, the less stimulation in one's environment which decreases mental acuity. It is more and more difficult for her to interact socially with people. Even expensive hearing aids haven't helped, because she is very poor at comprehending what she's heard, and makes inappropriate responses.
                  She has enough money to handle her health expenses...but her denial of aging has closed her off to many aspects of life. She increasingly lives in the past because she is so fearful of acknowledging she is old, she cannot build new interests and new friends.
                  We have several friends as old or older than she, who acknowledge their aging and are willing compensate for new frailties without letting it stop them from living their old age with gusto and enthusiasm.
                  Needless to say, these people are DH's and my role models, not MIL.
                • Re: Fixed retirement health expenses
                  I agree with you to stash money away for medical expenses that even an HMO would not cover. Hearing aids that cost $3,000 do not function any better than the ones my father got from the VA hospital for null. As your eyesight worsens, you can have cateract surgery, then you'll only need reading glasses for the OTC price of $3. The best investment one can make is for dentures; being able to chew properly will help avoid any digestive problems that older people deal with because of missing molars!