Last time we looked at the overall health picture of baby boomers and surprisingly saw they suffer with a greater degree of chronic illness than their parents. And, while a good portion of this demographic continues to work, the group as a whole represents more than 25% of the American population, and some are retiring (or have already retired). Subsequently, people are now asking, “Who will pay for baby boomers’ medical needs as they continue to age?” Interestingly, several health care professionals have been thinking about this question for a while.
Here is a partial list of coverage under Medicare.
Medicare Part A.
Hospital stays. Planned or unexpected hospital stays, as long as the stay is medically approved.
Skilled nursing facility. Skilled nursing facility and associated services in limited circumstances (and for a limited time). Certain criteria, such as a 3-day inpatient hospital stay, must first be met.
Long-term care hospital. A long-term care hospital stay if an individual is stricken with a serious illness yet has the potential to regain health and return home.
Medicare Part B.
Preventative services. Approved services that feature preventative measures.
Necessary Services. Services necessary to diagnose illness and supplies needed to medically treat.
Hmm, but who pays when Medicare does not?
Fortunately, some people save for unforeseen health care costs. On the other hand, others rarely think about the topic. Because of this, a few baby boomers are beginning to find themselves overwhelmed by medical debt. Here is another option to consider, albeit caveats exist.
Long-term health care insurance. Long-term health care insurance helps pay for medical expenses. It’s not a panacea, but it does make sense for certain people. This is the kind of policy a person typically purchases when he or she is well, not sick. Factors such as health and age generally determine the cost of the plan, and even under the best set of circumstances, long-term health care insurance can be pricey. Not everyone who applies will be approved, and keep in mind that not all policies of this nature are the same (some will have better coverage than others). For this reason, it is extremely important to do ample research regarding the companies that sell the products and the product itself. Moreover, read the fine print to know exactly what you are getting if you decide to go this route. As a side note, it makes sense to pay particular attention to coverage limits, premium increase possibilities, and whether or not the policy will pay for the duration of an illness. Long-term health care insurance has worked out very well for some individuals, but others have not been as fortunate.
Baby boomers, like other age categories, do best when they plan ahead. So, if you have not already done so, get started!
For additional information relating to Medicare coverage, go to http://medicare.gov/coverage/is-your-test-item-or-service-covered.html