A 65-year-old couple retiring in 2009 will have to pay an additional $80,000 in health care expenses as compared to 2002, even with Medicare coverage. A newly released Fidelity Investments study shows health care costs have increased 50 percent over the past seven years, including an additional $15,000 since 2008, totaling an estimated $240,000 for this year. The total is up almost 7 percent since last year.

“American households, already under strain from the difficult economy, are facing another challenge to their financial security in retirement as medical costs continue to rise steadily,” said Brad Kimler, executive vice president of Fidelity’s Consulting Services business in a statement. “With employee-sponsored retiree health care coverage on the decline nationwide, it is imperative that today’s workers begin to set aside money themselves for medical expenses in retirement as part of their overall retirement strategy.”

Fidelity says the sharp increase in health care costs from 2008 is due to doctor and medical fees, expenses associated with technology and general inflation.

The estimate takes into account cost sharing provisions (such as deductibles and coinsurance) associated with Medicare Part A and Part B (inpatient and outpatient medical insurance). It also considers Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) premiums and out-of-pocket costs, as well as certain services excluded by Medicare.

The estimate does not include other health-related expenses, such as over-the-counter medications, most dental services and long term care, and assumes individuals do not have employer-provided retiree health care coverage.