Rising Health Costs During Retirement & The Role of Telehealth

Rising healthcare costs are continuing to affect a majority of patients across the country. In particular, the aging population routinely incurs the highest healthcare costs due to their multiple chronic conditions that require time and money to receive proper care and management. Although it may seem shocking, experts say that as the prices continues to rise, the average retired American couple should plan on spending at least a quarter million dollars on their healthcare costs.

According to a recent report by Fidelity, the average 65-year old retired couple will need approximately $260,000 to cover all of their medical expenses throughout retirement. When compared to the company’s findings last year, there has been a six percent increase associated with prolonged life expectancies, rising prescription drug prices, and higher medical services.

However, this price does not include the long-term care insurance that elderly patients will also need, and can ultimately add another $130,000 to their bill. These costs are closer associated to the later years of retirement and early retirees can only expect to be paying more for healthcare throughout this time.

In August 2016, the average Social Security income for a retired worker was about $1,351 per month. Although these additional funds will continue to rise at a certain rate, healthcare costs will rise faster. Due to these increases, more of elderly Americans’ Social Security incomes will be used toward health care costs.

In preparation of this trend, some experts are warning that retirees should take preventative measures to reduce their healthcare spending throughout retirement. Many cite that the simplest way to save money on heath costs is to remain healthy and stay on top of your health, by exercising regularly, eating healthy, and keeping up with preventative care.

Another recommendation is to help decrease the burden of unnecessary healthcare spending through programs such as Chronic Care Management and telehealth. In these programs, monthly telehealth calls allow medical professionals to check in with Medicare patients to assess how the patient’s health is progressing and if there is any immediate interventions or preventative care needed.

With CCM, patients are able to speak to healthcare professionals about a wide range of issues and inform them if they believe something is wrong with their health. Research has shown this is an effective way to reduce the risk of taking unnecessary and expensive trips to the emergency department– services that can incur thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses and higher co-pays.

As healthcare costs continue to rise and the aging population grows older, it’s no surprise regarding the average funds Americans will spend towards care throughout their retirement. Thankfully, CCM and telehealth services are a way for help reduce some of the costs, while still providing the quality of care that patients expect and deserve.

About the Author

Patrick Stevenson is the Care Management Services Officer for Wellbox, the all-inclusive solution for tracking and billing for Chronic Care Management and Annual Wellness Visits, as well as offering in-demand Telemedicine and Remote Patient Monitoring services.

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