The Cost of Aging in AmericaFinancial & Legal Planning | July 1, 2014
As the aging population grows, the cost of aging in America grows, too. Not only is the cost of healthcare on the rise because people are living longer, but the aging are also living longer with chronic diseases that need to be managed.
By the year 2050, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 89 million people will be 65 or older. By the time the last Baby Boomer hits age 65 in 2030, one out of every five Americans will be a senior citizen.
Baby Boomers have always had a profound effect on the economy of the United States. As they retire, they will add to the cost of healthcare. Within four years, these seniors are projected to control 70% of the nation’s disposable income. It’s a demographic trend that creates a fiscal gap between the cost of government services and reduced revenues; this gap is intensified by retirement-benefit liabilities and rising cost of health insurance.
The healthcare system needs to find some solutions to help control these costs. Experts say the solutions for your aging parents include preventative and wellness care, managing chronic conditions and advanced or terminal illnesses, while reducing unnecessary tests and procedures.
Most health insurance plans today promote wellness and preventative care, but benefits of this care won’t be seen for 20 years, making it difficult to determine savings.
For example, falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors, but they are preventable. Not only is it possible to reduce falls in seniors through exercise and home modification, but recognizing that the reason the aging become injured due to a fall is from osteoporosis is also important, too. If we can reduce the risk of osteoporosis in your aging parent, we reduce the risk of bone fracture and more serious injuries and the costs associated with the care that would be needed.
Caring for an aging parent can be expensive, but there are local, state and federal government programs that can assist you.
Medicare plans include Part A, which covers inpatient care at a hospital, skilled nursing facility and hospice. Part A also includes surgery, doctor visits, lab tests, and home health care. Part B, the medical insurance coverage portion, covers outpatient care and medical equipment, as well as preventative services. If you have limited income and resources, your state may help you pay for Part A and/or Part B. Medicare also includes Part D, which offers assistance with prescription drugs.
If your aging parent’s Social Security benefits were earned on lower-paying jobs, your parent might be eligible for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. You can find out if your loved one is eligible for SSI benefits by answering a few questions through their screening tool on the website.
Other government programs include the Administration on Aging, which provides health insurance counseling and legal assistance as well as long term care, the Department of Veterans Affairs, which offers increases in benefits for military veterans, and the Indiana Area Agency on Aging, a federally-mandated agency in your state and/or city that is well versed in elder programs and services.
For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.