American workers are less and less confident about having enough money to pay for their healthcare in retirement, says the Washington, D.C.-based Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI).

According to EBRI’s 2009 Retirement Confidence Survey, worker confidence about having enough money to pay for medical expenses in retirement has plummeted in 2009. Indeed, only 13% of respondents said they were “very confident” that they will have enough money to take care of medical expenses during retirement–significantly fewer than in 2008 and the lowest ever measured.

The survey found that 46% of workers and 40% of retirees believe that an increase in healthcare expenses contributed to their loss of confidence in having enough money for a comfortable retirement. Eighty-eight percent of workers and 82% of retirees say that they have already experienced a rise in their healthcare costs, according to the survey…As unemployment continues to rise, health insurance is also a big worry for many American families. But the Department of Labor points out that the Obama Administration’s stimulus bill provides assistance to workers who have lost their jobs in paying for COBRA health benefits coverage.

“The premium assistance is also available for continuation coverage under certain state laws,” the DOL says on its Web site. “For coverage periods beginning on or after February 17, 2009, assistance-eligible individuals pay only 35% of their continuation coverage premiums to the plan for the first nine months. The remaining 65% is reimbursed to the plan, employer, or health insurance issuer through a payroll tax credit.”