Managing health care in retirement

Trying to rein in rising health care costs is like trying to stop a rocket launch with kite string. And finding the money to pay for medical expenses and long-term care may seem equally futile. But it's a big issue that can affect the quality of your retirement.

The average American spent $2,664 on health care in 2005 (including prescription drugs and vitamins), a 3.5 percent increase over the previous year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Not surprisingly, the tab for people 65 and older was much higher -- $4,193 on average.

So saving a pot of money in addition to your retirement nest egg could mean the difference between spending your retirement on the golf course and wrangling shopping carts in a parking lot for medical benefits. The key is to map out a plan and start now.


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