The challenges to the health-care system posed by Baby Boomers — defined as those Americans born between 1946 and 1964 — cannot be underestimated. As I wrote for CNBC recently, no fewer than 10,000 Boomers are retiring every day. No, that is not a misprint; that is according to Pew Research and the Social Security Administration.
When the last of the Boomers reaches retirement age in 2029, some 71 million Americans will be over the age of 65, as compared to 41 million in 2014. That’s a 73-percent increase, according to Census Bureau estimates.
Here are five facts to consider as the graying of the population continues:
- A healthy 65-year-old couple retiring this year can expect to pay $275,000 in health-care costs over the course of that retirement, according to Fidelity Investments. That’s up from $260,000 in 2016. And by some estimates they have only a 50-percent chance of covering those costs.”
- The average 65-year-old today can be expected to live longer than any generation in American history — 84.3 years, according to the National Journal for Health Statistics. That does not, however, mean they are healthier. According to a 2013 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, they have higher rates of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol.
- Medicare and medicaid costs will double by 2020, according to industry research. And a recent budget proposal by Congress calls for Medicare to be slashed by $473 billion, and health-care programs to be cut by $1.3 trillion.
- The best hope for the future of health care is innovation. Wearable technology, smartphone sensors, and medical conferencing via the internet are all realities, with the hope being that this will drive down costs over time. One example is genome-sequencing; while it cost billions when it was discovered a decade ago, it can be done for about $1,000 today. At the rate things are going, it will cost as little as a blood test within five years.
- EarlySense, a device for beds that tracks patients’ vital signs and motion, has been shown to reduce falls by 45 percent and bed sores by 60 percent. First introduced to the Allure chain at the Bedford Center, It will be available at all six of Allure’s New York City-based facilities by the end of the year.