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As if the stock market crash a few years ago wasn’t enough to ruin many older workers’ retirement, USA Today is now reporting that many have not saved enough to cover the massive cost of healthcare they will have in their retirement years.

According to the USA Today article, which cites information from a Fidelity Investments study, retirees’ healthcare costs have increased an average of 6% every year since 2002. Healthcare expenses account for about 35% of a retired couple’s annual Social Security benefit.

Those who assume that Medicare will cover most of their healthcare costs are most likely in for an unpleasant surprise. Even with Medicare, the average 65-year-old couple needs around $240,000 to cover their medical expensesover the course of their retirement.

So what can retirees do? Well, according to the article, many are planning to continue working.  In fact, 1/4 of middle-class Americans believe they will have to work until they are 80 to have a comfortable retirement!

Rather than continue to work a traditional job to keep benefits, though, they could consider a contract position.  If they are employed through a contract staffing back-office, they could be eligible for healthcare benefits.  And while they will still have to work a certain number of hours to maintain eligibility for those benefits, there may be more flexibility as to when and where those hours are worked than there would be in a traditional, direct position.

Many older workers are turning to contract assignments to gain more flexibility in a trend known as retiree re-staffing. With the rising cost of healthcare and the availability of insurance benefits through contract assignments, contract staffing may become an even more attractive option to retirees.

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