Retirement Health Care Costs: Expectations, Preparation, & More

 Overview: How to plan for health care costs when retiring, including how much the average retiree should save.

Did you know that health care is expected to be one of the largest expenses in retirement for Americans? This comes right after housing and transportation costs (and those are no light expenses).

The reason health care costs are likely to consume a larger portion of the average American’s retirement budget is because, unlike previous generations, those retiring today likely won’t have access to employer- or union-sponsored retiree health benefits.

Related: How to Plan for Rising Health Care Costs

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t plan for your retirement health care costs. Even though health care continues to be one of the largest expenses in retirement, there are certain decisions that factor into how you prepare to meet these expenses pre- and post-retirement such as:

  • When to stop working

  • When to take social security and

  • How to generate cash flow in retirement

Whether you’re early on in your working career, close to retirement, or already making the transition out of the workforce, it’s important to understand and plan for growing medical costs.

So, is there a “right way” to plan? While everyone’s situation is different, there are practical steps that can be taken based on individual circumstances.

 Individuals Retiring Before Age 65: 

If you retire before age 65, you’ll need to cover costs until Medicare kicks in. Options include:

  • Health plans from the Health Insurance Marketplace


  • Private insurance

  • Employer retiree insurance (This is most common with federal, state and municipal employers.)

  • Insurance from your spouse’s employer

  • Working longer to keep health benefits, possibly in a different job or part-time (Most employers don’t offer health benefits to part-time employees, but a few do.)

Be sure to include the costs of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. In general, when Medicare kicks in at age 65, you can plan on spending about $450−$600 a month (or $5,400−$7,200 a year). For a more accurate estimate based on where you live, inflation and other factors, consider talking to a financial planner.

Check out this article for more pointers to take into consideration when planning your retirement.

Individuals Not Yet Enrolled In Medicare: 

If you’re not enrolled in Medicare, a great option would be to set up a health savings account (HSA).

  • For plan year 2022, the minimum deductible for an HDHP is $1,400 for an individual and $2,800 for a family. For 2022, if you have an HDHP, you can contribute up to $3,650 for self-only coverage and up to $7,300 for family coverage into an HSA.

  • HSA funds roll over year to year if you don’t spend them.

  • An HSA may earn interest or other earnings, which are not taxable.

Though you can’t contribute to a health savings account after you enroll in Medicare, but you can use money you’ve built up in the account tax-free for even more expenses after you turn 65.

In addition to out-of-pocket health care costs, you can also use HSA money tax-free to pay premiums for Medicare Part B, Part D and Medicare Advantage plans (but not for Medigap). And you can withdraw money tax-free from the HSA to pay for other eligible medical expenses that aren’t covered by Medicare, such as dental and vision expenses, hearing aids and over-the-counter medications.

When you view plans in the Marketplace, you can see if they’re “HSA-eligible.” You can read more about how to set up an HSA here.

Related: Preparing for Medical Expenses in Retirement

  Turning 65 and Still Gainfully Employed (or Your Spouse/partner Is) :

If you’re still working when you’re 65 and get health insurance through your employer or your spouse’s employer, you’ll have the opportunity to enroll in Medicare when you leave your employer plan through a Special Enrollment Period.

In addition to Medicare options to consider, if your spouse or partner continues to work, they may be able to cover you through their health plan. Talk to your HR department to help you evaluate all your options, costs, and any restrictions. The rules of Medicare are complicated, so to get started, consider the following questions:

  • Which plan offers you the best coverage for your health needs?

  • Your employer is required to offer you coverage, but is that your best option?

  • Is it more expensive to stay in your employer plan or join Medicare?

  • Can your spouse or partner remain in your employer’s plan if you decide to leave?

Tip: Remember, one of the key goals at this stage is to avoid any gap in coverage.

Things to  Remember: 

Medical Expenses in Retirement:

  • On average, a 65-year-old couple who retired in 2021 can expect to spend $300,000 on health care and medical expenses throughout retirement, according to the annual Fidelity Investments Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate.

  • This sum doesn’t include the additional annual cost of long-term care. And that can be steep too: In 2020, a private room in a nursing home had a median cost of $105,852, according to long-term care insurer Genworth.

Related: How to Plan for Medical Expenses in Retirement

What Medicare Covers (and Doesn’t Cover):

  • Medicare does not cover long-term care.

But it can pay for some health care spending in retirement, but with limitations, according to Michael Gerstman, founder and financial advisor of Gerstman Financial Group. “For example, without a Part D prescription drug policy, Medicare does not cover medications.”

  • Original Medicare plans, also referred to as Parts A and B, don’t cover dental and vision care, but Medicare Advantage plans typically do.

If you plan to rely on Medicare to help cover medical expenses in retirement, you’ll need to budget for deductibles, premiums, and other out-of-pocket costs.

Is your health provider good? Pros/cons of a popular health care provider + reviews

leading health care providers

health provider good

With over 12.5 million  members, Kaiser Permanente is currently recognized by Americans as one of the leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans.

The thing with Kaiser Permanente is that it’s not just a health insurance company. It’s a managed care organization. Consumers can purchase a health insurance policy and receive medical care from one of the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and medical centers.

But does its popularity make Kaiser Permanente inherently better than other health care providers in the market? Let’s consider 3 pros and 3 cons of Kaiser Permanente, including some reviews of real KP member experiences:

  • Pro 1: Easy to View Plan Options

  • Pro 2: Variety of Health Insurance Plans

  • Pro 3: Unique Provider Network Approach

  • Con 1: Negative Customer Reviews

  • Con 2: Service Areas
  • Con 3: Limited to Kaiser Permanente Hospitals and Medical Centers


Easy To View Plan Options

The plan selection at Kaiser Permanente is quite admirable. Kaiser Permanente won’t require you to give out personal information like your DOB or parts of your medical history to get even the most basic information about its insurance policy options in your area. You’ll be able to see health insurance options in your area after providing the following information:

  • Whether you are turning 65 during the year

  • If you get insurance through an employer

  • If you’re looking for an individual plan or for a group

  • Your zip code

Getting the cost information for a plan will require further research because the monthly premium depends on several factors, like age. But the initial questionnaire will give you access to brief descriptions of the types of plans available and the overall coverage you can expect.

Variety Of Health Insurance Plans

Kaiser Permanente offers individual, family, and employer-provided health insurance plans. It also offers Medicaid, Medicare, and charitable health insurance to individuals who qualify along with catastrophic plans.

One Oregon KP member wrote:

Kaiser Permanente is the best supplemental insurance provider. I pay $5 copay to see my primary care doctor, $10 to see a specialist, and $25 for urgent care. I only paid a copayment of $125 for a $20,000 surgery. My prescriptions are only $5 for a month’s supply, and $10 for a three month supply.

Employers interested in adding vision and dental insurance to their employee health benefits can offer dental and vision insurance through Kaiser Permanente, too.

Unique Provider Network Approach

One KP member based in West Covina wrote: “Able to communicate with Dr through e-mails and texts. […] Kaiser is like Mini mart, everything you need is available at all facilities.”

As you consider Kaiser Permanente medical insurance plans, keep in mind that it does not offer typical network structures, like Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans.

Instead, Kaiser Permanente has its own facilities and providers for patient care. However, this could be a pro. As one member states: “It is very convenient to have a pharmacy, lab, and x-rays onsite.”

Care received elsewhere is not covered by the insurance provider. We’ll talk more about this in the following section, which focuses on some cons associated with the company that might make you consider other health insurance providers.


Customer Service/Negative Customer Reviews

Though Kaiser Permanente has received a lot of praise for their customer service, they’ll also received a high percentage of negative reviews on various review platforms.

Most reviewers who left 1-star reviews shared difficulties with claims payments and dissatisfaction with care received from Kaiser Permanente providers. For example:

Long phone wait times, inability to access doctors’ offices to leave message, extraordinarily long wait times to talk to appointment schedulers, same thing for pharmacy inquiries. — Bellflower KP Member

Prepare to stay on the line for 45-minutes only to make a phone appointment 5-days later where they can then make an appointment for you. Seattle, WA KP member

A high proportion of negative reviews is not uncommon for health insurers. However, consider issues found in reviews as you decide whether or not to buy a health plan from Kaiser Permanente.

Service Areas

One major limitation of Kaiser Permanente is the span of states that Kaiser Permanente can work with — or should we say, the lack of span of states.

This company limits itself to just several states out of the 50 in the U.S., which means its health plans aren’t even an option for you if you live outside of these states.

If Kaiser Permanente’s plans are not available in your area, your only choice is to consider another insurance company that does service your area.

Limited to Kaiser Permanente Hospitals and Medical Centers

Unlike most health plans that allow enrollees to choose the provider network structure (PPO or HMO), Kaiser Permanente plans only offer coverage for its hospitals and medical centers.


Best Company: Is Kaiser Permanente Good?

ConsumerAffairs: Top 1,990 Kaiser Insurance Reviews

The Balance: Kaiser Permanente Health Insurance Company Review

How to monitor your business’s compliance-related activities (ThinkHR Comply)

How to monitor your business's compliance-related activities

Summary: Learn what compliance tools are useful for your business with ThinkHR Comply.

No matter what industry your business is in, you should understand the importance of workplace compliance. Proper compliance doesn’t just protect your employees… it protects you, too.

 Last year, Bernardini & Donovan were excited to partner with ThinkHR for people risk management. We discussed our efforts to maximize our health insurance services by this partnership,  in addition to ThinkHR’s end-to-end people risk management solution (PRM). In this article, we’ll be discussing the following points that ThinkHR Comply addresses: 

  • Tools for Fellow Compliance Nerds

  • Popular Guides and Checklist

 You might not be a compliance nerd, but if you own a business, ThinkHR Comply is beneficial. Compliance protects you from lawsuits and other penalties.

 It’s also important that your employees know that they’re safe from exploitation, discrimination, and harassment, and that they have legal recourse if they ever face these things.

 Related article(s): Partnering With ThinkHR To Minimize Risk Management…



  • Extensive guidance explains laws and provides sample policies and HR best practices to assist businesses with risk management before, during, and even after it is exposed.

  • Powerful tools to help businesses manage their day-to-day tasks while mitigating the numerous people-related compliance risks that exist in every organization.

When it comes to using the best tools to monitor compliance-related activities, ThinkHR Comply delivers fully-integrated content combining expert analysis of employment laws and regulations, best practice information, and high impact delivery that shows HR leaders what to prepare for, provides the guardrails for when something happens, and outlines the necessary steps to move forward.

ThinkHR has created easy to use, cloud-based tools to help you complete these tasks while ensuring you remain in compliance and keep the best interests and goals of your company front and center.

ThinkHR Comply is cloud-based, so information on policies, laws, and HR best practices is continually updated and always current. Access their robust Q&A Database to see the questions and answers from the ThinkHR Live team or get the latest policies and forms on topics like hiring, time off, compensation, and benefits.


State and federal laws piling up? Employees losing touch with your culture? ThinkHR Comply has got you covered. Use their powerful compliance-monitoring tool to create a pre-populated fully editable handbook that assures communication of your most important values and compliance in all 50 states.


Full-time? Overtime eligible? Independent contractor? Their tools help you classify and document each worker’s status for compliance and payroll tax purposes.


You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Their tools let you easily create engaging job descriptions that attract the right candidates.


Save everyone countless hours with well-designed review tools. Properly crafted reviews yield meaningful, fair, and productive reviews for both employer and employee.


ThinkHR talks to thousands of employers every year. So chances are good that they have solved your problem before. Easily access the right answer in their robust database.



Use their proven guides to quickly assess HR compliance risks.


Years of experience have enabled ThinkHR to give you the help you need to handle sensitive situations in the most compliant and expedient manner while reducing legal risks.


For both strategic planning or immediate HR issues, it’s comforting to have expert guidance at hand for any compliance or HR related issues.


To bring the most value to their companies, HR professionals need to stay on top of laws, policies, news, and best practices for managing and developing employees. This waterfall of information can be overwhelming.

ThinkHR Comply turns the waterfall into a manageable stream of the important, current information you need to implement best practices and avoid risks. You’ll get law alerts, whitepapers, access to HRCI webinars, and more. You’ll also get access to thousands of up-to-date tools as well as the latest information that supports compliance best practices!

ThinkHR Comply offers the best solutions to monitor employee compliance for your business such as:

  • Federal, state specific, and even local legislation for many large markets throughout the US.

  • Guidance that benefits all business sizes, from small to large.

  • Content curated by a team of attorneys and compliance experts ensures library is accurate, current, and reliable.


Related page(s): Resources That Make Your Business A Well-oiled Machine

How immigrants are being affected by the health care industry

Healthcare for immigrants

Health care for immigrants continues to be a unique challenge as we work to bring comprehensive health care options to immigrants throughout the country. 

Getting comprehensive health care options to immigrants throughout the country is a topic that is currently being addressed. Here are two key points regarding immigrant healthcare that we’ll be addressing in this article:

  • The impacts of Covid on the health care industry for immigrants

  • What the agenda is for immigration health care

According to the United Nations, in 2019, the United States had the largest number of immigrants of any country alongside Germany and Saudi Arabia.

One article addressed the issues of giving more health care options to immigrants in Connecticut. Undocumented immigrants don’t have access to state insurance. For one worker, not having proper health care means that he could potentially become sicker by having to wait in order to receive the treatment he needs (emergency dialysis).

Source: Connecticut immigrants deserve health insurance

The impacts of Covid on the health care industry for immigrants


Access to healthcare is especially vital now, as undocumented immigrants have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 75 percent of U.S. undocumented immigrants are Latino, a group which dies or falls ill from COVID-19 at much higher rates than the general population. This is due to medical barriers, such as shortages of testing in communities of color, as well as increased exposure to COVID-19 at work.

Regarding the immigrant communities in California, a study was released by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. The study, based on data from the center’s 2019 California Health Interview Survey, shows that 1 in 4 low-income immigrant adults in the state have avoided accessing public assistance like health, food or housing programs at some point for fear of jeopardizing their own or a family member’s immigration status.

More than half of the individuals who participated in the study indicated they had shunned these programs in the time between the the proposed rule changes in 2018 and their implementation in 2020.

Immigrants’ avoidance of these public programs was linked to worse access to health care and higher food insecurity, the researchers say.

The researchers found that among California immigrants who had reported avoiding programs over the past year, 37 percent were uninsured and 54 percent were food insecure, compared with 16 percent and 36 percent of immigrants who didn’t avoid the programs.

The study data adds to the evidence of how the public charge rule, in particular, had a negative impact on immigrant communities and forced individuals to make tough choices about their health and well-being — choices made even more difficult by widespread uncertainty about which public assistance programs were included, who the rule applied to and how it might affect citizenship applications.

Read more about how immigration policies can harm health here.

The 2021 plan to address immigration health care


 Some states wisely chose to protect the immigrant community by using Emergency Medicaid funds to cover expenses associated with COVID-19 testing and treatment for residents who were excluded from Medicaid based on their immigration status. But more needs to be done.

Here are some other bills that are being passed throughout the country that will support better health care for immigrants:

  • IL: Immigrants over 65 can now receive health care benefits regardless of their immigration status. (Source)

  • MA: Immigrants who can’t show proof of lawful presence in the U.S. could apply for a license under the law to get to their workplaces and access businesses. (Source)

  • OR: Oregon lawmakers are pursuing legislation that would help legal immigrants get health care without worrying about feeling discouraged from going to hospitals or clinics. (Source)

On another note, immigrant families that were previously separated will soon be reuniting inside the U.S. This means that parents who were deported without their children will be given the option to reenter the U.S. and be reunified with their families. This also applies to families who want to be reunified in their countries of origin.

Read more about how migrant families will soon reunite inside U.S. here.

Human Resources for insurance agencies: Partnering with ThinkHR to minimize risk management for Bernardini & Donovan health insurance employees and offer HR expertise

Human Resources for insurance

In efforts to maximize our health insurance services, the Bernardini & Donovan team is excited to collaborate with ThinkHR, the industry-leading, end-to-end people risk management service that helps develop employees and ensure compliance

We are pleased to introduce to you the new Bernardini & Donovan human resources client service, ThinkHR! If you are involved with employee issues, this is a value-added benefit to save you time and money. ThinkHR was created to help businesses manage risk before, during, and after it is exposed and has since dealt with over 3.7 million issues and counting! More than 300,000 businesses have benefited from ThinkHR’s end-to-end people risk management solution (PRM), and the B&D team is excited to be part of that growing number.

The reality is that people risk is inevitable. However, just because it’s inevitable doesn’t mean nothing can be done to minimize it. As such, ThinkHR recognizes the significant risks centered around business employees and has thus introduced a comprehensive, end-to-end people risk management solution. With a combination of the best live advisors, innovative technology, and comprehensive and instructional content, ThinkHR is revolutionizing the world of human resources for businesses such as Bernadini & Donovan.

With a goal to help organizations address all potential people risks and help its partners strengthen their client relationships involving guidance on preparing for and managing those risks, we believe ThinkHR will benefit the Bernardini & Donovan team professionally and in other ways. The goal is to help us win more business through a comprehensive, all-inclusive, user-friendly PRM solution.

Understanding PRM: How having a human resources partner will benefit B&D as a health insurance company in the future

People Risk Management fills a critical need for businesses of all sizes by helping them build and maintain a strong culture, drive employee engagement and performance, and mitigate the numerous people-centric compliance risks that exist in every organization.

Bernardini & Donovan will now be able to ensure an effective PRM solution by integrating the 3 primary critical components into our day-to-day relations: content; technology; live advisors. We now have access to regulatory updates to handbook policies and interactive and engaging training along with guidance on preparing for and managing those risks; a handbook builder for easy creation and maintenance, a learning management system with powerful training content, and key deployment technologies to create a great user experience; live expertise and guidance that HR and business leaders need when more is needed to solve a difficult employee situation than content and technology.

The scope of HR topics handled by the ThinkHR live team, and more

HR professionals use ThinkHR tools to be more effective in their roles, while all employers benefitting from the crisis averted with the end-to-end PRM solution. We also have access to ThinkHR Live, where a team of HR experts is standing by to answer employee questions and provide advice. This phone-based support service is available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. central time each business day so employees can utilize this tool at their convenience.

The B&D team will also have access to ThinkHR Comply, an online resource center for all of workforce questions and issues. Additionally, we’ll have access to ThinkHR Learn, an online training platform to develop employees and help ensure compliance!

With so many components making up the PRM solution, we’re excited to partner with ThinkHR to ensure our future HR needs are addressed and handled accordingly. For more information on the ThinkHR PRM solution, visit their website at

Aging Well

Aging Well - bdhealthinsurance

Aging Well

“Old age is no place for sissies†We couldn’t agree more Bette Davis! Aging is an inevitable process. However, there are ways that you can help yourself as you mature with dignity. In this blog, we will discuss a few ways that you probably have heard and some that you haven’t to help you age well.


Eat Well

This may be a no brainer as eating healthy is one of the tenants of good health. But a well-balanced diet helps your body age well! One of the best things you can do is just to cut out processed foods. Processed foods are anything that comes prepackaged. By cutting these out, you are cutting out unnecessary sugars and salts. Along with eating well, you will want to ensure that you are drinking enough water. Well hydrated skin can better combat signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines. But parched skin loses its glow and looks dull and flaky.

Sleep Well

To age well it is recommended that you get anywhere from 7 and a half hours to nine hours of sleep. When you are sleeping your body is releasing growth hormones that help build up collagen and help you look younger. Skin cells can reproduce quicker during your sleep and can help you significantly.  Lack of sleep can lead to a higher chance of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.


As we age our metabolism slows down and for some, that means weight gain. Exercise can help keep weight off and also help you lose a few extra pounds as well. Also, as we age, we can lose muscle mass and bone density. Both of these can be helped through resistance and weight training. Talking a walk around your neighborhood, going for a swim, picking up some weights… all of these can help you age better.

Check your Attitude

Studies have shown that those who look on aging fondly have a better likelihood of living up to 7 years longer than those who don’t. The people who can see their aging as growth of wisdom and maturity and no longer being run by their emotions or overwhelmed by their circumstances have been known to live longer. So the next time someone brings up your birthday, instead of grumbling about your age, plan a fun party with some of your friends and family to celebrate!

We hope that these have given you a new pep in your step to look fondly on your aging process.

Summer Sunshine Loving 

Summer Sunshine Loving

Summer Sunshine Loving 

The longer I live, the surer I am that life is about trying to find a balance. Of course, sometimes balance can be defined as the split second that a pendulum swinging from side to side hits the equilibrium and then passes it to keep swinging. But regardless, I do feel like it is a worthy aspiration. Today, we will be looking at the benefits of spending time in the sun. A lot of the messaging that we hear today will point out the evils of the sun and sun exposure leads to skin cancer. I am in no way am I trying to deny this fact. But I do think there is a balance in finding the benefits of being in the sun and also appropriately not over doing our sun time.


Sun exposure helps with mild depression. Most of us have heard of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This type of depression comes from a sunlight deprivation. Some reasonable time in the sun helps release serotonin which helps you fight off the blues. Also being in the sun can help regulate your sleep. When you spend a proper amount of time in the sun, and then it sets, that will signal the brain to start to release melatonin which helps us sleep.


A new study by the University of Edinburgh is showing that time in the sun can lower blood pressure. Having lower blood pressure can help you live a longer life as well as reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Sun exposure can also contribute to bone health and help improve brain function. Both of these health benefits come from the production of Vitamin D which is produced in the body through sun exposure.


Again, let us stress that we are not promoting a sun-fest binge that will leave you lobster red and very sore. But instead, in finding a balance between sun exposure and protection you might be helping yourself live a mentally, physically and emotionally healthier life.

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