Healthcare costs for a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2009 would total $240,000 over the remainder of their lifetimes, up 6.7% from the $225,000 needed in 2008 and a whopping 50% from $160,000 in 2002, according to estimates by Fidelity Investments.

“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 in the consulting services division of Fidelity. “With employee-sponsored retiree healthcare 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 strategy.”

Fidelity’s estimate take into consideration Medicare Part A and Part B, for inpatient and outpatient medical insurance, respectively, as well as Part D premiums for prescriptions and other out-of-pocket costs.

Fidelity said healthcare costs are higher due to doctor’s fees, new technology and inflation.

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