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Wealthy are worried about health care costs too

/ Source: The Associated Press

Worries about the high cost of health care aren’t limited to the middle class and the poor. A new study said the wealthy increasingly believe paying for health care will eat through their assets.

Forty-three percent of individuals with at least $500,000 in assets said late last year that health care costs will consume a major portion of their wealth, up from 37 percent in late 2005, according to a new survey released to The Associated Press by The PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

The concern is intensifying because the issue of rising health care costs has become a media staple and individuals are much more aware of the potential expense, said Jennifer Immel, a vice president and senior wealth planner at PNC.

Older individuals are less concerned than younger counterparts with spending significant sums on health care. Only 26 percent of those age 65 or older said they worried about plowing through assets to fund their health needs, compared with 50 percent of those aged 18 to 64.

Immel said the disparity most likely stemmed from older people having more savings and perhaps having retiree health insurance, too.

Forty-seven percent of the 1,123 respondents said they were concerned that nursing home or long-term care costs will deplete most of their assets.

Fifty-one percent of respondents rated the possibility of the Medicare system becoming insolvent as a threat to their family’s wealth.