It used to be that when retirees were fortunate to have had lengthy service in corporate America, there was often a small pot at the end of the rainbow to pay for healthcare in retirement. Or retiree health insurance could be paid for with a pension.

Today? Not so much. Those fast approaching retirement age, 64-years-old, need to address the albatross of retiree health costs directly and lighten the load.

The annual Fidelity study of health costs estimates, “that a couple retiring at 65 will need $240,000 to cover health costs in retirement.”

The Employee Benefits Research Institute said the same couple needs $227,000 for a 75 percent chance to cover health costs in retirement.

This data from a Market Watch story in the Wall Street Journal is daunting and frightening for new retirees.

Retiree Health Choices is taking the price of health care into retirement seriously; in fact, the Chicago technology company makes it its mission to give Boomers more informed choices when navigating Medicare insurance.

With a new Personal Health Calculator as the engine behind consumer-facing website offering Medicare Supplement plans for selection, analysis and cost comparison-people can better understand the total cost of Medicare premiums, doctor visits, and plan for unexpected procedures.

Everyone in their 50s already has an albatross around their neck that is retiree health. The way to lighten the load prior to turning 65-years-old is managed by some of these suggestions in the MarketWatch article:

  • Get COBRA. While costly, it extends group health insurance benefits 18 months.
    Retiree health plan. Speak early with the benefits office at a large corporation, union, or other workplace offering retiree health to understand options once you retire.
  • Individual insurance. Also deemed costly, this option may reap more benefit as the Affordable Care Act unfolds Jan. 1, 2014.

Once Boomers reach Medicare eligibility age, they should not delay enrolling as there are late penalties.

Begin early to research retiree health so the albatross around your neck is weightless.