I was out yesterday picking up a prescription, and was stunned to see that my refill cost $168 out-of-pocket for a month’s supply. Since I refilled a $171 prescription (also out-of-pocket) for my son a few days before, I did the math to realize that two prescriptions were costing me over $4,000 per year, on top of insurance premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.
Since I haven’t missed more than a day of work due to illness in almost twenty years, I was taken aback by how an otherwise very healthy person could rack up so much in unreimbursed medical expenses, without being sick.
Boy, talk about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.
How many times have I heard clients talking about the cost of their medications or medical supplies, or heard news stories about seniors forced to choose between medication and food? I guess it doesn’t really sink in until it happens to you.
So it should come as no surprise to learn that even the very wealthy worry about rising medical costs more than anything else.
According to a recent survey from Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner, ultra high net worth investors (those worth $5 to $25 million) perceive health care costs as the most significant threat by far to their retirement security, far more threatening, in fact, than taxes or inflation.
Almost two-thirds of the ultra wealthy believe health care costs have the potential to cause financial hardship in their retirement, worrying about “the financial impact of a family health catastrophe” or “having someone to care for me in my old age.”
The Takeaway: It just goes to show that most Americans worry about health care costs, regardless of their level of wealth. They see health care costs as an unpredictable threat, or potential wild card, that can derail even the most carefully laid retirement plans.
The Spectrem Group specializes in research into the attitudes and behaviors of wealthy investors.