Caring For Aging Parents
Care for aging parents is a major concern for over 50 million Americans. It may or may not be a surprise to you that Medicare does not pay for all of medical expenses incurred by the elderly. In fact people with Medicare coverage can expect to pay between $38,000 – over $100,000 in medical expenses in the last 5 years of their lives. This was based on a study done by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan of patients who died between ( 2002 and 2006) It was found that seniors often need help from their children to meet these additional costs because:
1. Over one quarter of older adults incurred out-of-pocket medical expenses that exceeded the total value of their assets during this five-year period. Forty-three percent of older adults incurred expenses that exceeded their assets excluding the value of their homes.
2. People with Alzheiners disease encounter greater out of pocket than those with other diseases.
3. Surprising Long -term care has very limited coverage under Medicare. In fact when caring for aging parents it is important to note that long term care is the number 1 category of out of pocket expenses and 2nd is home care.
Older Adults Need More Care
This is not surprising. As older adults become more frail they need more support and assistance and their out of pocket expenses sky rocket. In addition the co-payments and premiums for Medicare Part D have been increasing and can be expected to do so with the aging American population.
There are many gaps medical care for the elderly . Medicare does not provide the coverage expected . Long term care and other supplemental insurance premiums increase while older adults may have fixed or limited resources. This make if very difficult for older adults to leave an inheritance to their children and grandchildren.
Older Adult Care Is At The Front of The Political Arena
Older adults can can expect to pay more even if Medicare remains intact. The Kaiser Family Foundatin that found that people with Medicare spent 16 percent of their income on out of pocket medical expenses in 2006 up 12 percent from 1997. If this trend continues it can be expected that older adult out of pocket expenses will beup to 19 percent by 2020 and median out of pocket spending is projected to reach 26 percent of all income.
You may be a caregiver for an older adult. While you are in this process look listen and learn . Make every effort to prepare in this world of uncertainty for ourselves and those we love and care for.