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Middle-income Americans cite soaring healthcare costs as top retirement concern

Middle-income Americans nearing retirement are most concerned about rising healthcare costs during their retirement years, according to a study by the Bankers Life and Casualty Center for a Secure Retirement.

The study, which surveyed 500 Americans between the ages of 47 and 65, found that 80 percent listed uncovered medical expenses as the top financial concern for retirement. This was followed closely by inflation (79 percent) and living longer than their money lasts (71 percent).

According to the survey, 64 percent said they have taken action to cut down on healthcare expenses. In order to do this, 55 percent reported delaying medical treatment, 26 percent postponed elective surgery and 25 percent swapped health plans to one that cost less.

These concerns, coupled with financial struggles caused by the economic downturn, are causing middle-income Baby Boomers to delay retirement.

"Rising health and long-term care costs, the declining value of investments and an uncertain economic future all highlight the need for retirement plans that protect savings and make money last," said Scott Perry, president of Bankers Life and Casualty Company, a national life and health insurer.

The report also suggested that lifestyle planning could help future retirees manage their healthcare costs. It suggested that part of planning for retirement now should also include paying attention to health concerns, and noted that “maintaining a reasonable level of fitness and improving health will ... help reduce healthcare costs down the road.”

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