How the Rising Healthcare Costs Impact Seniors
Entering your golden years should be a stress-free, exciting time full of lifelong realization, relaxation, and hobbies. However, for many seniors today, that’s no longer the reality. Healthcare, in particular, is leading to growing concerns for our aging population and their loved ones.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s predictions, by the year 2030, older people are expected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history. Despite a growing number of births, there will be fewer deaths to offset this number.
At the same time, the costs of healthcare are also increasing rapidly to the point where the average American is struggling to afford the right healthcare. In this article, we’ll examine how the rising healthcare costs will directly impact seniors not only today but into the near future.
Out of Pocket Costs
Medicare is a federal program that helps make healthcare more affordable those over 65 years old. While Medicare Parts A through D offers solutions to a growing problem, they’re not free of out of pocket costs. Many people have a lack of understanding about how Medicare works, especially Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C.
If you learn about Medicare Part C, you’ll discover that it’s likely the most flexible solution that allows seniors to get more coverage when they need it most. Otherwise, they’re on the hook for around 80% of their costs.
The Health Services Research journal anticipates that by 2035, the average senior will spend one out of every seven dollars of their retirement fund on medical care. This is a significant increase from past years. As the cost of medical care goes up for everyone, seniors are forced to pay more out of pocket, despite government programs.
This means seniors will need to plan more throughout their lives to save more money for retirement in anticipation for these costs. For those with lower incomes or who don’t have the means to excessively save, this will lead to an inability to get the right medical care even with Medicare.
More Assistance Needs
Another growing concern with the rising cost of healthcare is the new types of assistance needed by the aging population. In the past, it was more common for the elderly to live with their family as they age. Today, this isn’t nearly as commonplace.
In addition, the advancements in modern medicine are keeping people around longer. They’ll now need to prepare for a significant increase in retirement years as more people are living to 100 (and beyond). As people get older and older, they also face more expensive medical problems and are more likely to need hands-on care. This doesn’t come cheap.
The advanced assistance needs not only cost an arm and a leg, but we simply don’t have enough medical workers to meet the demand. In a world where our older population outnumbers the youth, we’ll need a new wave of medical staff to meet the demand. Without it, seniors face the reality of medical and retirement facilities that are understaffed, poorly maintained, and unsafe.
In the next few years, we need new changes to our healthcare system in order to help not only seniors but the entire population. As you can see, out of pocket costs are on the rise even for those with Medicare. Beyond this, the needs of seniors today are growing rapidly, and we simply don’t have the workforce to meet this demand safely.
What can be done? First, we need additional federal spending. While Medicare is a very beneficial system, it’s simply not doing enough for the populations who need it. We also need more medical advancements that not only are successful, but that actually cost patients less. Luckily, we’ve seen huge strides in telemedicine and other modern solutions that are more cost-effective.
Only time will tell the full extent of the rising cost of healthcare. This is a problem everyone can feel, but seniors are hit excessively hard by these issues. Hopefully, as younger people enter leadership roles, we’ll see more innovative solutions that help everyone lead a healthier, more affordable life.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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