Retirees may need more money than previously expected in order to cover all their health care costs, according to a supplemental study released Thursday by Fidelity Investments.

For long-term care - such as extended stays in nursing homes - the study found that a 65-year-old couple would need to spend $85,000 on average. This $85,000 is in addition to the estimated $225,000 in savings retirees would also need for various healthcare needs, according to previous study Fidelity released in March.

"If you plan adequately and you have the ability to pay for assistance in whatever form that might be, it makes it easier on everybody if you can do that," said Kathleen Kelly, executive director of the Family Caregiver Alliance.

This is the first year that Fidelity has conducted a study of this kind and the overall goal is to motivate people to start planning and thinking about their long-term care needs. It’s a subject that can make many people uncomfortable, especially with the threat of rising costs.

“A lot of people shy away from thinking about it," said Joan Bloom, senior vice president for Fidelity's life insurance group.

According to a federal estimate, the number of Americans using long-term care services, whether that may be at home, in assisted living, or a nursing home, is expected to increase from the 13 million in 2000 to approximately 27 million by 2050.

Acting sooner rather than later is also crucial, so Bloom recommends that people consider purchasing long-term care insurance while they are still in their 50s, since policies tend to cost more the later they are purchased in life.

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