The Employee Benefit Research Institute has refined its estimates of the amount of money people will need in retirement to fit a range of health care scenarios.

EBRI, Washington, says the new estimates provide more information than the prior estimates did about how much money men, women and couples could figure on needing to deal with longevity, investment risk and medical care coverage once they reach age 65.

The new analysis looks at the amount of savings needed to cover health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket health care expenses in retirement.

EBRI presents separate estimates for individuals and couples who supplement Medicare with employment-based retiree health benefits and for those who use a combination of individual health insurance through Medigap and Medicare Part D outpatient drug coverage.

One EBRI example concerns a husband and wife who are both now 55 years old, will retire at 65, and would be covered by Medicare plus supplemental insurance but would not have employment-based retiree health coverage:

Such a couple would need current savings of $194,000 to have a 50% chance of having enough money for retirement health costs, or $305,000 for a 90% chance–assuming both spouses had median-level drug expenses.

A couple with very high drug expenses would need $635,000 to have a 90% chance of having enough money to meet health care needs, EBRI calculates.

EBRI notes that many individuals will need more money than these projections suggest, to cover long term care expenses as well as acute care expenses.

The estimates also exclude the savings needed to cover basic costs of living, such as food, clothing and shelter.

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