One of the consequences of an ageing population is that there will be increased pressure on an already overloaded public health system.
Advances in technology will add to the pressure as new - but often more costly - procedures become available.
Healthcare costs are 10 times higher in old age than in mid-life. By 2050, one in four people will be aged over 65, compared to one in eight now. Not only will the total spend on health increase dramatically but there will be fewer taxpayers to fund it.
Possible outcomes over the next 20 years could include:
Longer hospital waiting lists.
Reduced government spending on other important areas such as education and social welfare to help fund health care.
Access to medical treatment based on ability to pay.
Increased reliance on private health care.
Unaffordable health insurance premiums.
Research shows good health is one of the main determinants of happiness. Planning for a happy retirement means planning for a healthy retirement. Strategies you can use to plan for good health include:
Maintaining healthy practices throughout your life with regard to fitness, diet and health checks.
Staying active and working beyond the age of 65 (good for your finances as well as your health!).
Setting aside a separate fund of money to be used either to cover the costs of private healthcare or to pay the premiums for health insurance.
Reducing the cost of health insurance by increasing your excess and setting aside funds to cover the excess.
There is no question that paying for healthcare is a major retirement issue now and it will become critical. As medical technology advances, you will want nothing but the best available treatment.
Make sure you can afford it by planning ahead.
Liz Koh is an authorised financial adviser. The advice given here is general and doesn't constitute specific advice to any person. A free disclosure statement can be obtained by calling 0800 273 847.