A Guide to Predicting Your Future Health Needs and Costs
Many baby boomers currently face a dramatic change in their retirement plans due to the impact of the recession on retirement investments and the loss of retiree health and pharmacy benefits provided by an employer.
If you are re-evaluating your retirement finances, be sure to estimate, to the best of your ability, the cost of current and future health and prescription drug care.
Your Prescription Costs Now and in the Future
Even if your prescription drug costs are not worrisome today, you’ll want to consider what they could be down the road as you evaluate your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP) options. While you can’t know for sure what the future holds, there are signposts that can help you map out your health journey.
What to Consider for Your Future Health
There are several factors you can look to for an idea of how your healthcare costs may be in 5 or 10 years:
A long-term illness, such as high cholesterol or diabetes, that is generally not curable.
- Do you have, or are you on the verge of, a chronic condition? Do you control high blood pressure or high cholesterol through diet? At some point in the future, you may require medication. Is your blood sugar level higher than normal? If so, you may be facing type 2 diabetes in the coming years.
- Does anyone in your family have a chronic illness? Family history is a known risk factor for many common, chronic conditions such as hypertension, stroke, and diabetes — all of which will require prescription drug treatment. The conditions that afflicted your grandparents, parents and siblings as they aged can provide signs for your future health.
- Are you active? Do you take good care of yourself? If you are not eating a healthy diet or do not engage in enough physical activity, you are at risk for a chronic medical condition that could require medication.
We all like to think positively. However, the unfortunate reality is half of all Americans ages 50–64 have one or more chronic conditions, and that number shoots up to 90% for those ages 75 and older. The cost of these conditions can be burdensome if you don’t have proper care and coverage. The good news is that many chronic conditions are controlled satisfactorily with medication and lifestyle changes.
A Part D plan that offers broad drug coverage and clinical expertise is more likely to address your current and future needs. While changing plans each year is an option, if you’re like the majority of Medicare members, you’ll choose one plan and stick with it even when your health situation changes. Thinking about your future health needs when selecting a Part D plan can save valuable time and money tomorrow.