The Effects of Baby Boomers on Social Security and Healthcare

Expected Lifetime Costs of Significant “Aging Shocks” for a 65-Year-Old Today Population Needing Long-term Care If we also look at another issue as to why long-term care could be a large burden is the rapid inflation in expenditures for long-term care in recent years. Medicare and Medicaid expenditures on nursing home care were $9 billion in 1980, more than doubling to $25 billion by 1990, and doubling again to $54 billion by 1999. Likewise, Medicare and Medicaid expenditures on home health care increased from less than $1 billion in 1980 to $5 billion in 1990 and to $16. billion in 1999, down from a high of $17 billion in 1996 (Health Care Financing Administration 2000; Heffler et al. 2001). With this we can also see that out of pocket expenses have not been lowered at all either. Also there is a concern about long-term care costs that comes from a report by Curran, McLanahan, and Knab (in review) it suggest that children who experience divorce may be less willing or able to care for their aging parents.

Their data indicate that the probability of an elderly person perceiving an availability of emotional support from his or her children is reduced from 71 percent for those who marry once and remain married to 56 percent for those who many and divorce. Which would make these elderly Baby Boomers more apt to have to depend on Social Security or some sort of governmental supplement? {draw:frame} There remain some substantial challenges to getting ready to meet the long-term care needs of Baby Boomers.

Basically there are four areas of concerns that need to be focused on: Creating a finance system for long-term care that works Building a viable and affordable community-based delivery system Investing in healthy aging in order to achieve lower disability rates, and Recharging the concept of family and the value of seniors in American culture. There are four sources of payments currently finance long-term care services for the elderly: Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and out-of-pocket payments.

The federal Medicare program pays for approximately 24 percent of all long-term care costs (Congressional Budget Office 1999). In principle, Medicare does not cover custodial long-term care, but rehabilitation care. The federal/state Medicaid program is probably the most important player in the long-term care financing system. Medicare may if you will, be considered as a back up to the Medicaid program. Basically what Medicare does is help pay for the eldest and more serious conditions in the elderly who are in a situation that they have little to no money.

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