In light of surging medical costs, Fidelity Investments estimates that the average 65-year-old couple retiring today will need $190,000 to cover medical costs over the next 15 to 20 years.

That figure is up 8.6% from last year's estimate of $175,000. The estimate includes approximate expenses for Medicare Part B and D premiums, Medicare cost-sharing provisions--co-payments, co-insurance, deductibles and excluded benefits--and prescription drug out-of-pocket costs. It does not include over-the-counter medications, most dental services and long-term care.

A recent Fidelity study found that medical costs were the top concern among about 60% of pre-retirees and recent retirees.

"Employees, much like the companies they work for, have typically focused only on their short-term health care needs, managing health benefits on an annual basis without looking further down the road," said Brad Kimler, senior vice president of health and wealth consulting for Fidelity Human Resource Services Co.

"However, there are financial risks to doing so. To reduce these risks, employees should lead healthier lifestyles, plan more aggressively for retirement, look for ways to cut their current health care costs, and take advantage of their working years to save more for their future health care needs," he added.

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