Health financing in retirement is a growing concern among American workers, according to EBRI‘s 18th annual Retirement Confidence Survey.

Over 4 in ten retirees today are spending more than they expected to on health.

Last year, 40% of retirees said they were more concerned about their financial future than they were right after they retired. This year, 54% say they’re now more concerned about that financial future.

Some of the insecurity derives from workers’ perceptions that employers could stop sponsoring health insurance during retirement. Only 34% of workers expect to have access to employer-paid health insurance in retirement, compared to 42% who expected that benefit just one year ago.

On the entitlement side of the retirement health insurance ledger, 64% of workers are not confident that Medicare will be available to the extent it is today. Even current retirees express growing concern about Medicare’s ability to pay for health care going forward.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: What’s behind this fast-eroding retirement forecast among workers? It’s the economy, especially declining home values and the growing costs for living in America in daily line items like energy and food.

If there’s encouraging news in the EBRI survey, it’s that some workers are coming to more realistic expectations about their needs in retirements — and what they’ll have to do for themselves in retirement versus what either their employer or the government will do (or be able to do).

That will mean sobering up about saving more for retirement — and health costs will consume more of those savings, as EBRI reminded us so persuasively last year in its 10th Annual Health Confidence Survey.