Posted on 24 October 2009
By Mark Miller
The number of unemployed Americans over age 65 who want to work but can’t find a job is at the highest level since the Great Depression, according to The New York Times.
The jobless rate for older workers remains lower than the national average, but there’s been a fivefold increase in the number of 65+ workers who can’t find jobs since earlier this decade, the Times notes.
But eroding retirement savings and rising medical expenses have prompted many to stay in the job market longer than planned. Since 2002, average out-of-pocket retiree medical expenses have jumped 50 percent, and rose 6.7 percent in 2009 alone, according to data from Fidelity Investments. Fidelity reports that a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2009 will need to spend $240,000 out-of-pocket to cover medical expenses in retirement, assuming that the man lives 17 additional years, and the woman 20. That includes premiums for Medicare and expenses outside Medicare, such as over-the-counter medications, dental care and long-term care.
Likewise, the number of companies providing supplemental retiree health benefits has plunged. The number of large companies providing health coverage fell from 66 percent in 1988 to just 31 percent in 2008, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.