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5 Tips to Plan for Health Care Costs in Retirement

Vanguard and Mercer Health and Benefits have developed a new framework that pre-retirees, retirees and their advisors can use to forecast health care expenses in retirement.

Unlike many other models, the framework focuses on annual costs, rather than costs over a lifetime, which can be daunting. It also separates long-term care costs from annual health care costs because long-term care costs are less predictable and many retirees will never incur them.

Here are the top tips from the framework discussed in Vanguard’s new report, Planning for Health Care Costs in Retirement.

1. Frame costs in annual terms. The Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates that a typical 65-year-old couple will spend a total $265,000 in health care costs over their lifetime. The Boston College Center for Retirement Research estimated in 2010 a $197,000 outlay for a retiree couple. Neither estimate includes long-term care. These lump sums are overwhelming and potentially very inaccurate.

There are many variables involved in estimating health care costs in retirement and the total number can vary widely, according to the Vanguard report. A 65-year-old has a 50% chance of living another 24 years, and if she does, she could spend about $200,000 on health care. But if she dies by 81, she could spend less than $120,000, and if she lives to 95, she could spend more than $272,000.

“The range is wide and accounts for only 50% of the possible outcomes. This is why retirement planning professionals should focus on annual spending plans,” according to the report. They should also consider, however, that costs will rise as seniors age due to inflation and the consumption of more health care services.

2. Personalize health care costs. Knowing a person’s health history and current health status as well as the costs and coverage for Medicare plans, including Medicare Parts B (doctors and labs) and D (prescription drugs), Supplemental Medigap and/or Medicare Advantage Plans are important to understanding health care costs in retirement.

The Vanguard/Mercer Model considers 12 chronic health conditions, along with smoker status and number of annual doctor visits to establish a retiree’s likely health care costs and divides people into three risk categories: low, medium and high.

It also considers geography, marital status, age at retirement and coverage choices, and models costs for women rather than men since their health care costs tend to be slightly higher over a lifetime — 2%.

The median annual health care cost for a 65-year-old woman is $5,200, according to the Vanguard/Mercer model, but it ranges from $3,000 to $26,000 based on risk, geography, type of coverage and income. (Taxpayers with adjusted gross income above $85,000 for individuals filing separately and couples above $170,000 filing jointly are subject to Medicare surcharges.)

Vanguard recommends also that pre-retirees understand their employer contributions to their health care coverage — it averages $5,300 per year for workers — because they will have to cover that cost in retirement.

In addition, it recommends that retirees understand the benefits and costs of different health care options: Medicare with prescription drug coverage only, Medicare with prescription drug coverage and a supplemental Medigap plan and Medicare Advantage plans, and the choices within each category where they live.

Retirees should also reassess prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans annually. (They may encounter difficulties in changing Medigap plans if their health has worsened without a significant hike in premium and possibly a denial of coverage.)

3. Target higher replacement ratios. Financial plans typically suggest that retirees will spend 70% to 85% of their current annual income in retirement, but those ratios may be too low, according to the Vanguard report. It doesn’t take into account an individual who may have high medical costs.

In addition, it uses a ratio based on a 2008 study from Aon Consulting, which tends to undercount how much employers contribute today to health care coverage of pre-retirees. In the baseline case, it assumes an employee making $60,000 per year will spend $1,086 for health care coverage in retirement and in the worst case, $4,800, but according to the Vanguard report, “it is not hard to envision scenarios in which ‘worst case’ could be double that assumption.”

4. View health care costs in relation to other costs. “Although health care costs increase, spending in virtually all other categories tends to decline with age,” according to the Vanguard report, referring to categories such as transportation and entertainment. That doesn’t mean, however, that advisors and their clients should plan on saving less. Forecasting higher overall spending growth can serve as a hedge against rising health care costs and ‘worst case’ scenarios.

5. Plan for long-term care costs. “Long-term care costs may actually be the biggest concern for most retirement planning scenarios because the consumption of long-term care varies significantly,” according to the Vanguard report. It notes half of retirees won’t incur these costs; one-quarter will spend less than $100,000 on long-term care and 15% will spend more than $250,000.

“Even if the probability of incurring expensive care is relatively low, the number is of a magnitude that is hard to ignore,” according to the Vanguard report. The median annual cost for a private room in a nursing home runs over $92,000, according to a 2017 Genworth Financial report cited by Vanguard.

It suggests that retirees consider potential long-term care options: unpaid care from family and/or friends, types of facilities and services available in their area, and expenses that can be eliminated or reduced so more funds are available for long-term care and Medicaid. Consultation with an elder law attorney can help seniors understand the role that Medicaid can play and the rules involved.

For those retirees and pre-retirees who believe long-term care insurance will take care of these costs, Vanguard has another message: “Long-term care insurance pays for only a small portion of care in the U.S.” Policies are expensive, include benefit caps and are not always fully useful “in the most severe scenarios,” according to Vanguard.

Financial assets, home equity, income annuities and health savings accounts can also help pay for long-term care costs.

— Related on ThinkAdvisor:

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Peel Health offers tips to keep your cool this summer

Now that summer has finally arrived, Peel Health is offering some advice to help residents keep their cool.

“During the summer, and especially during heat events, we encourage our residents to take steps to keep cool, and check-in on friends, family and neighbours who may be vulnerable,” says Peel Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jessica Hopkins, in a press release.

“In particular, some residents with the greatest risks of heat-related illness are infants and young children, seniors, people with chronic diseases and those who are experiencing homelessness,” Hopkins added.

Dave Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, says this summer will be hotter than normal in all provinces.

Peel Health issues heat warnings when there are at least two days of high temperatures or humidity — putting people at greater risk of heat-related illnesses. Signs of heat-related illness include: rapid breathing and heartbeat, dizziness or fainting, vomiting, extreme thirst, decreased urination, and unusually dark yellow urine.

People experiencing any of these ill effects should cool off as soon as possible by moving to a shaded or air-conditioned area, increasing fluid intake and resting. If the symptoms persist, Peel Health advises people to seek medical attention.

Heat stroke is a more serious condition characterized by high body temperature, confusion, loss of consciousness, and/or the absence of sweating. If someone is exhibiting these signs, people should call 911 immediately.

Residents can prevent heat-related illnesses by following these tips:

• drink plenty of fluids, preferably water;

• avoid strenuous activities between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its hottest;

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Putting your best foot forward: Tips for healthy feet

ORLANDO, Fla. – One survey found that eight out of 10 Americans have experienced some type of foot problem. From ingrown toenails to chronic pain, foot issues can make everyday activities difficult. 

The average American takes about 5,000 steps a day. That’s 5,000 times your feet pound the pavement. So, how can you keep your tootsies in tip-top shape?

Wear the right shoes

Dr. John Campbell, an orthopedic surgeon at Mercy Medical Center said, “If you’re going to play basketball, wear a basketball sneaker, don’t wear a running shoe. It’s not the same kind of event. It’s not designed to protect you for that.” 

When deciding on a new pair of shoes, make sure you have at least half an inch between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Walk in the shoes to make sure there’s no slipping or rubbing. If your feet aren’t the same size, buy the shoes to fit your larger foot. Also, be sure to replace running shoes every 300 miles.

How to avoid ingrown toenails

To avoid ingrown toenails on your feet, cut your nails straight across. Don’t round them. And if you do develop an ingrown nail, see a doctor instead of dealing with it yourself. To prevent bacterial and fungal infections, bathe daily and take time to dry the skin between your toes. If you suffer an injury, see a professional. It might be more serious than you think.

“The old wives tale where people say, well if you can walk on it it’s not broken, absolutely false,” Campbell said.  

Another tip is to avoid high heels as much as possible. They don’t support your ankle and can actually change the natural position of your foot.

Copyright 2018 by Ivanhoe Newswire – All rights reserved.

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Health officials offer tips to stay safe in midst of food recalls

Several recent outbreaks related to contaminated food have affected dozens of people across the country.

Health officials say technology and consumers are helping contain these infections.

New numbers from the CDC show 10 more cases of salmonella infections linked to pre-cut melons. Seventy people in seven states have now become sick. Caito Foods recalled the fresh cut melon products earlier this month.

“People that are infected with salmonella will have diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps about 12 to 72 hours after they’ve eaten a contaminated food. Most people recover in about four to seven days. Other people do have a more severe illness and do require hospitalization,” Dr. Laura Gieraltowski, of the CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases.

Last week, another salmonella outbreak was announced this one linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. The CDC says new technology is helping them better detect these outbreaks and stop them

“When people get infected with a bacteria, we’re able to use this new technology to get a DNA fingerprint, and when people have the same DNA fingerprint, we’re more confident that these illnesses are related to a common food,” Gieraltowski said.

While the recalls can be scary, there are things you can do to prevent foodborne illnesses at home.

That includes looking out for recalls and tossing contaminated products

“Also people can help us solve outbreaks. You know, if you get food poisoning, go see your doctor. Report your illness to a health department,” Gieraltowski said.

The CDC also reminds everyone to follow safe food practices, washing hands and surfaces often, cooking foods to the right temperature and refrigerating them promptly.

For more on food safety, click here.

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health tips: Turning 40? Explore your family’s health history; check …

NEW DELHI: Reaching 40 is a milestone, signalling a time of transition from young adulthood to middle-age. It is that time of life where the risk of many health conditions increases so it is necessary to keep a check on your lifestyle in more serious way, say experts.

Jai Gopal Sharma (ENT Specialist, Preventive Oncology Department), Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Varsha Dalal, MD, Consultant Pathologist, Lifeline Laboratories and Sargam Dhawan, Director, Planet Herbs Lifesciences Pvt Ltd listed down some guides to look after when you reach 40.

* Walk more and fast: Walking is not just an exercise but for many, it is the best way to connect with your inner self. In 40′s most people have more time compared to their earlier years. This is more due to settled professional and personal lives. Walking 45 minutes daily will not only rejuvenate you but will keep your metabolism rate high, helping you to burn calories and weight; hence warding all related diseases. For those already suffering from any lifestyle disease, walking will help you tame it.

* Explore your family history: Your family medical history is a mirror to peek into your health risks. This is done to get more information about the diseases and conditions that run in the family. It is best to go back three generations for a complete record. A detailed family history can provide the key information to the physician. This will help in recommending the preventative measures to reduce the risk of conditions such as heart attack, stroke and different types of cancer.

* Regular health check-up: It is recommended to go for regular medical examination, screening procedures and routine tests in your 40′s. This will vary depending on gender, family history, overall health and personal risk factors.

* Healthy eating: It is recommended to add more fiber to your diet. This will normalize the bowel movements, lower cholesterol levels, help achieve a healthy weight, maintain bowel health and control blood sugar levels.

* Cardio workout: It is important to undertake some cardio activity 3 times a week for 30 minutes to stay fit and healthy. Also before starting any such routine, consult your doctor and check all your medical parameters to begin the most suitable schedule for yourself.

* Know your numbers: It is important to keep a check on the levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides. Measure your waist circumference, body mass index and also the body weight. Values and numbers that are out of range may indicate the presence of, or risk for developing, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

* Check your salt intake: It is important to keep a check on the salt intake. Too much of salt in the diet negatively impacts the blood pressure as it retains water in the body. It is this extra water that raises blood pressure. This, in turn, strains the heart, kidneys, arteries and the brain.

Immunity-Boosting Food

Sticking to the right dietary plan is one of the most crucial things to do during dust storms. The weather can lead to various illnesses like common cold, tiredness, sore throat, irritation in eyes and nose, ceaseless cough, wheezing and other respiratory problems.

To keep yourself safe and boost immunity in the changing season, plan your diet properly and include gooseberries, flaxseed oil, hot soups, olive oil, vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, vitamin E-rich diet, omega-3 diet, honey, garlic, neem, oatmeal, green tea, carrot juice, and pineapple extract.

Stay hydrated, opt to drink lukewarm water, and working out regularly to stay healthy.

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Tips on Staying Healthy in the Arkansas Outdoors

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. –  Right now, many of us are spending more time outdoors. 

While it’s all about fun and getting a nice tan, it’s just as important to keep yourself healthy. 

The trees are green, birds are chirping. 

This is summer time in Arkansas. 

With that in mind, it’s also important to take some preventative measures. 

“They’ll get a good tan, while also getting burned.”

It’s the time of year where flight paramedic, Josh Richmond, finds people forgetting about putting on sunscreen or don’t understand which SPF is best for their skin.

“The more fair skin you are, you’ll want the spf 30. If you’re darker skin, spf 15 will be fine,” says Flight Paramedic Josh Richmond.

The FDA finds the higher the SPF value, means the greater sunburn protection. 

But if you do get a sunburn, Josh recommends using aloe vera to cool the skin. 

You can also take some over the counter medications like Tylenol and Advil. 

If the burn is severe and blistering call the doctor. 

Also, don’t use sunscreen if it’s expired. 

Just as important, make sure you put on enough.

“With the spray on sunscreens you can actually miss some places, so you’ll still want to rub it in. With the lotions, they recommend one full ounce,” says Josh Richmond.

Arkansas State Parks, rivers, lakes, and walking trails are seeing plenty of foot traffic right now.

It’s a good reminder to be on the look out for venomous snakes especially when there is no cell service.

“Stay calm. The more excited you are the faster the venom will spread through your body,” says 
Josh Richmond.

There are four venomous snakes in Arkansas. 

Rattle snake, water moccasin, copper head and coral snake. 

“Don’t use any tourniquets, don’t ever cut into the bite. Don’t ever try to suck the venom out with your mouth,” says Josh Richmond.

Josh says in a lot of cases this is what snake bit victims do. 

But the key is prevention. 

That applies to spiders, ticks and poison ivy you may encounter outdoors. 

“If you are going to be in the woods, tuck in your pants in your socks,” says Josh Richmond.

These minor changes can go along way in keeping you healthy all summer long. 

You should reapply sunscreen at least every hour to two hours– more often if you’re sweating or jumping in and out of the water. 

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Take charge of your health: Wellness tips from Dr. Ann Kulze for a healthy summer season

Emotional well-being and mood are profoundly influenced by diet and lifestyle. Gratefully, the science supports a host of “therapeutic lifestyle changes” – TLC for short – that can improve your mood and lower your risk of depression.

Here’s the complete list based on my most recent scientific review:

• Be physically active — exercise daily. Any activity counts, but formal exercise and sports appear to be the best. Also, the more vigorous the activity the better.
• Minimize processed and fast foods. Consume mostly whole “nature-made” foods, particularly plant-based foods.
• Consume omega 3-rich foods often. These include: oily fish (salmon, sardines, lake trout, herring, cod), omega 3 eggs, walnuts, whole soy foods, hemp/chia/flax seeds, canola oil, oysters and small leafy greens. Fish oil supplements are an option for getting in optimal amounts of omega fats, but eating oily fish regularly is likely the very best way.
• Keep your weight in a healthy range.
• Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Those with the most anti-inflammatory oomph are likely the best and include: red onions, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, red/orange/yellow bell peppers, dark leafy greens, apples, red grapes, berries, cherries, oranges and plums. Excess inflammation in the body has been linked to depression.
• Maintain optimal blood levels of vitamin D via safe sun exposure, consuming vitamin D-rich foods (oily fish, fortified dairy products, mushrooms, eggs) and appropriate use of vitamin D supplements.

• Include magnesium-rich foods in your diet regularly – green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains and wheat germ.
• Increase your intake of tryptophan-rich foods. Foods high in tryptophan include: turkey, whole soy foods, lean meats, fish and low-fat dairy products.
• Include folate-rich foods in your diet regularly. Green vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, wheat germ, any form of tomato product, oranges, nuts, seeds, whole soy foods, parsley and beets are excellent sources.
• Include vitamin B12-rich foods in your diet regularly. The healthiest sources are low-fat dairy products, fish and shellfish. If you are older than 50, get your level checked periodically. Some people need to take supplements.
• Avoid sugary beverages and artificially sweetened (diet) sodas.
• Use anti-inflammatory herbs and spices regularly in your foods – turmeric, curry, ginger and rosemary are especially potent.
• Spend time in nature regularly. Daily best.
• Maintain positive relationships with family and friends.
• Engage in relaxation/mindfulness practices regularly – deep breathing, yoga, meditation, etc.
• Cultivate and nurture your spirituality, especially via practices that focus on love and forgiveness.
• Give of yourself and your money to help those in need.

Dr. Ann Kulze is founder and CEO of Just Wellness and has a knack for breaking down the science of healthy eating and living into simple and easily digestible messages. She has been featured on “Dr. Oz,” “Oprah and Friends,” WebMD and U.S. News World Report. Alabama NewsCenter is publishing advice from Dr. Ann.

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Cycling at Night: 4 Must-Read Safety Tips

When it comes to riding a bicycle at night, the best advice is — avoid it.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Michael Schaefer, MD, Director of Musculoskeletal Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic, suggests staying indoors on a stationary trainer or a spin bike if you want to rack up more cycling time after dark.

That being said, many avid cyclists find themselves riding at night eventually — either inadvertently or on purpose. And, whether you enjoy night riding or must do it for some reason, it’s important to prepare yourself and your bike for doing it safely.

Dr. Schaefer, who is an avid cyclist himself, offers some tips on the best way to safely get to your destination when you’re riding after dusk or before dawn.

1. Choose safest routes

Map out routes that are well-lit and have lighter traffic in the evening hours. If you can, stick to lighted bike trails or roads that have designated bikes lanes, Dr. Schaefer says.

If you find a road with good lighting at night, double-check to make sure they’ll still have the lights on when you plan to ride. Some street lights turn off after a certain time in the evening.

2. Light yourself up

You absolutely must stay as well-lit as possible. One low-cost way to do this is to purchase reflective duct tape and stick it prominently on your back and on the back and sides of your bike.

If you are going to ride frequently in the evening, a lighting system is necessary, Dr. Schaefer says. There are only a few on the market that are really adequate for night biking, he says.

“Probably only the most expensive and brightest systems are adequate,” he says. “Any bike lighting system should have front and rear lights, a large battery capacity and a large number of lumens.” (A good gauge is 800 lumens or higher, especially if you’re riding on darker roads.)

It’s a good idea to use good front and rear bike lights even in the daytime to make yourself more visible in traffic, he adds.

3. Wear reflective clothing

Dr. Schaefer says there is a lot of good reflective clothing (with reflective elements woven into the fabric) on the market. This clothing helps light you up when headlights shine on you in the evening or early morning hours.

4. Get a heads-up from technology

There is other technology that is helpful for riding at night. For instance, Dr. Schaefer uses a radar system that alerts him when a car is coming up from behind. It also lights up to warn oncoming cars that a cyclist is ahead.

Whether you are often out riding at night on purpose or sometimes get caught out later than you mean to, having proper lighting can go a long way toward keeping you safe.

Dr. Schaefer recommends exercising extra caution and riding at a slower speed at night. And, if you find yourself in an area with no lights at all or on a particularly poorly lit section of road, it’s a good idea to get off and walk your bike until you (and drivers in the cars around you) can see better.

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Health secrets: BRG offers tips for aging gracefully


Going gray? Baton Rouge General (BRG) wants you to know that staying healthy and feeling great doesn’t stop just because you get older. BRG is hosting a lunch and learn event to share with you the health secrets on aging gracefully.

A press release sent to 9News says, “We are all getting older, but having another birthday shouldn’t put a stop to living your best life.”

RELATED: Learn more about Baton Rouge General Medical Center

Wednesday, June 20, Baton Rouge General Nurse Practitioner Tiffany Simon will offer helpful advice for aging gracefully through your 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond.


  • Wednesday, June 20
  • noon to 1 p.m.
  • Baton Rouge General Medical Center -  Bluebonnet Campus
  • Conference Room 1 (Entrance 3)
  • 8585 Picardy Ave.

Lunch will be provided and the event is free but because space is limited, attendees should register online

The noon session at BRG’s Bluebonnet campus will include an exercise demonstration, advice on healthy eating and sleeping habits, and other daily activities that promote physical and emotional wellness.


  • Home exercise demonstration
  • Sleeping habit tips
  • Tips for eating well

“Aging doesn’t have to mean settling for aches and pains,” said Simon. “Making healthy food choices, stretching, and staying active can help physical and mental wellbeing at any age – but especially as we get older.”

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PA Live: UPMC (Health Tips for Being A Weekend Warrior) June 18, 2018

Wilkes-Barre, PA – Dr. Ronald Campbell from UPMC Susquehanna in Williamsport joins us with health tips to consider when being a weekend warrior.

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