Financial advisors won’t know until October how much more their clients will collect in Social Security payments next year but no matter what the increase it probably won’t be enough to offset rising health care costs.
Those costs are increasing at more than twice the rate of the Social Security COLA, according to HealthView Services, a software provider of health care cost projections.
Its latest Retirement Health Care Costs Data Report projects that health care costs will rise 5.5% annually during the next decade, more than double the projected annual Social Security COLA of 2.6%. In reality actual COLAs have been even lower, under 2% in four of the five years from 2012 to 2016.
The report is based on projections for increases in health care premiums for Medicare Part B, which covers non-hospital costs, including physicians; Medicare Part D (prescription costs): supplemental insurance; and dental. It does not includes long-term care expenses.
In 2016, when there was no Social Security COLA, Medicare Part B premiums grew 16% and in 2017 they rose 10%. The Medicare Board of Trustees estimate these premiums will decline 1.3% in 2018 but they projected a 24% decrease for 2017 when they rose 10%.
Part D premiums are expected to grow 8% annually “for the foreseeable future,” and to account for an increasingly larger share of Medicare-related expenditures (from 16% this year to 27% in 2027), according to the HealthView Services report. And supplemental insurance is expected to rise at a rate of 7.12% annually, due to rising inflation rates and annual age-based increases.
Low single-digit increases in Social Security checks can’t keep up.
Of course, how much is spent on health care costs depends in large part on how long someone lives. Under current actuarial data, a healthy 65-year-old male is expected to live to age 87 and his female counterpart is expected to live two years longer.