Helping Baby Boomers Pay for Long-Term Care

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It won’t come as a surprise to anyone who follows U.S. politics that health care is a big issue. It’s getting bigger every year as more members of the Baby Boom generation enter retirement age, with the attendant increased need for health services. Now, the federal Commission on Long-Term Care is looking into one of the big pieces of this puzzle: how to finance long-term care for seniors and disabled Americans.

The commission recently held its first meeting, where members heard from experts on the need for health services, according to Kaiser Health News. Seventy percent of seniors will need some form of long-term services, these experts said, yet such care isn’t just for the older set. Nearly half of Americans getting long-term care are under 65. The total number of people receiving long-term care will rise 70 percent between now and 2050, hitting 16.5 million that year.

All this is a big issue, of course, because it’s expensive. Medicare doesn’t cover a lot of services, and, while Medicaid pays for more than 60 percent of people living in nursing homes, the program’s budget is under a lot of stress already. Private long-term care insurance is expensive, and most people don’t have anywhere near enough in retirement savings to cover expensive care.

One takeaway from all this is the importance of home health care. Getting care at home is far less expensive than living in a nursing home, and home health care professionals can help patients control chronic health problems so that they don’t keep landing in the hospital. This is especially important in Massachusetts, where health care costs are particularly high.

Of course, as home health care clients know, there are other reasons, totally unrelated to finance, to support the services. After all, it’s hard to put a price on being able to keep living at home.

This entry was posted in IHC Blog and tagged home health care, long term care, Massachusetts by Livia. Bookmark the permalink.


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