Health care costs are skyrocketing, and for retirees and near-retirees who have not prepared properly, those costs can engulf a household budget.

Consider these figures, from a 2017 study by Health View Services: a U.S. retired couple who both live to their late 80s can expect to pay over $400,000 in total healthcare costs.

A separate study from Nationwide Mutual shows the vast majority of U.S. adults state that "one of their top fears in retirement is their health care costs going out of control (74%) and they are terrified of what health care costs may do to their retirement plans (64%)."

With huge health care costs on the horizon, U.S. retirees, especially those 77 million Baby Boomers heading into their golden years, will need to access any financial option they can to cover skyrocketing healthcare prices. But should those options include household equity, long used as a resource for common, everyday financial needs?

Some experts say yes, mostly because so many retirees have no choice. For them, the way out is using home equity to pay for long-term health care needs.

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