While healthcare costs are inevitably going to rise in the future, a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2011 will likely spend $230,000 on healthcare throughout their retirement, Fidelity estimates. This is an 8% decline from the $250,000 retiring couples in 2010 will need, due to recent changes in Medicare, Fidelity said.

This is the first decrease in the estimated costs since the initial calculation of $160,000 in 2002. In the intervening years, healthcare costs have consistently risen 6% a year. The $20,000 drop is due to Medicare changes in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act that were signed into law in 2010, reducing out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs for many seniors.

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