For only the second time since it’s been estimating the totals, Fidelity Investments reported Wednesday that the average projected cost of health care expenses for retirees has gone down. A 65-year-old couple exiting the workforce in 2013 is estimated to need $220,000 to cover health care costs throughout their retirement, an 8% decrease from last year’s $240,000.

Fidelity Benefits Consulting, which has calculated the estimates since 2002, does not include nursing home costs in its projections, which apply to retirees with traditional Medicare insurance coverage. For many, health care will be the largest expense during retirement and Sunit Patel, senior vice president at Fidelity, tells EBN that unlike food or shelter, “which you can dial up or down,” health expenses associated with aging are relatively fixed, regardless of income bracket or savings.

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