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Retirees Saying 'Ouch' As Healthcare Expenses Catch Many By Surprise, New Study Unveils

CHICAGO, July 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Medical care and its costs have caught many of today's middle-income retirees off-guard, as they list healthcare expenses as one of their biggest overall financial surprises endured in retirement. 

A new survey, conducted by Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement(SM) (CSR), asked 300 retirees between ages 55 to 75 with an annual household income between $25,000 and $75,000, a variety of open-ended questions about what they have learned since they stopped working and what challenges they have faced. 

Many retirees say their health itself had become a challenge.  While some felt their health had improved since leaving the workforce, nearly one in five (18 percent) said they had dealt with unexpected health issues. 

The high costs of medical expenses were also a big issue.  When asked what costs more in retirement than they thought it would, more than half (55 percent) of respondents indicated that healthcare is costing them more than anticipated.  And if given the opportunity to go back in time, retirees say they would make saving for their healthcare costs a much bigger priority.

While many have experienced increased costs in every aspect of life, here's a look at the top five expenses that were higher than expected among America's retirees:

1. Healthcare – 55%2. Groceries – 41%3. Car/Transportation – 38%4. Prescription Drugs – 33%5. Utilities – 22%

Retirees polled had many goals beyond the stereotypical ideas of retiring to Florida, seeing their grandchildren and traveling the world.  When asked what goal they hope to accomplish in the next three years, more than one in three (36 percent) have a personal goal that focuses on their health and wellness.  While some people wanted to travel, many retirees wanted to be in better health (21 percent) or lose weight and be more physically fit (15 percent).

"Many times when people think about retirement planning, they only think about money," said Chris Campbell, vice president of marketing and business development at Bankers Life and Casualty Company, a national life and health insurer.  "While that is important, don't over look your health.  Living a healthy lifestyle keeps healthcare costs down and the ability to fully enjoy your retirement years."



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