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5
Boomers are Living Longer

Got You Covered?

Government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid don't typically cover long-term health care services [source: Medicare.gov]. Medicare will fund temporary disability and recuperation costs in certain circumstances, whereas people applying for Medicaid must meet specific income requirements before becoming eligible for long-term care financial assistance. Unfortunately, people without adequate savings or long-term care insurance will empty their bank accounts to pay for care before qualifying for Medicaid.

Baby boomers will not only comprise the largest aging population ever, they will also live an average of two years longer than their parents -- a reality predicted to strain health services and current government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid [source: U.S. Congressional Budget Office].

They are living long past retirement, and the idea of needing assistance with daily activities seems like a distant proposition [source: Valeo]. In reality, 70 percent of people 65 and older are estimated to need long-term care [source: U.S. Administration on Aging]. Just as people can naturally become disabled with age, an accident or sudden illness might place someone with good health into long-term care.

Boomers are changing long-term health care by not preparing for it while it's still affordable. Since the cost of long-term care increases with age, purchasing insurance for it is most affordable before retirement -- a time when boomers aren't typically focused on making that purchase [source: Block]. Among people in their 40s, only 10 percent have secured an insurance plan [source: Morrissey]. If more people are unprepared for the costs associated with aging, funds in need-based programs such as Medicaid are expected to be depleted in coming years.

The same boomers that led social movements in the second half of the 20th century plan on keeping their independence. Next, read how this is changing long-term care.

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