The Fidelity study found that health care costs average $535 a month, or one-fifth of an average retired couple's total monthly expenses of $2,842. The estimates apply to those who lack employer-provided coverage, but qualify for Medicare. More than half (51%) of the respondents said they are paying out-of-pocket for health care costs not covered by Medicare and 45% have bought supplemental insurance to cover that gap.
Even though much of the recent health care reform package is focused on those under 65, retirees may benefit from the closing of the so-called "doughnut hole" gap in Medicare Part D coverage. Seniors caught between the limit of their current drug coverage and the government's "catastrophic coverage threshold" can be stuck paying thousands of dollars out of pocket. The gap, under the reform package, would be eliminated by 2020, when seniors would be responsible for 25% of the cost of their medications until catastrophic coverage kicks in.
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