A new study finds that the high cost of out of pocket medical expenses at the end of life is a significant financial burden for older adults and their families. Most of these expenses stemmed from long term care costs, raising questions about current policies and individuals’ retirement saving habits.
The study, funded by the National Institute on Aging and conducted by Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers, found that the average person with Medicare paid $38,688 for medical expenses, which included the cost of hiring at home caregivers and other long term care expenses, in the last five years of life. This number varied significantly among seniors. The top quartile of Medicare recipients averaged costs of $101,791 and the bottom quartile averaged costs of $5,163. Spending an average of $66,155, seniors with Alzheimer’s disease spent more than the overall participants’ average and more than older adults with any other type of illness.
Regardless of costs paid, one quarter of Medicare recipients spent more than their total assets on health care expenses in their final five years, while 43 percent of Medicare recipients spend more than their total assets, excluding their home value, on these expenses. Most of the expenses were associated with long term care, which many individuals erroneously believe to be covered by Medicare. "Medicare provides a significant amount of health care coverage to people over 65, but it does not cover co-payments, deductibles, homecare services, or non-rehabilitative nursing home care," said the study's lead author, Amy S. Kelley, MD, Assistant Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "I think a lot of people will be surprised by how high these out-of-pocket costs are in the last years of life."
Researchers are hopeful that the results of this study will influence health policy and encourage individuals to prepare more for retirement costs. "Prior to this study there was not a lot of data on the extent of out-of-pocket spending,” said Dr. Kelley. “This information can serve as an important tool to help individuals set realistic expectations for end-of-life health care costs, and for government officials to use in discussing Medicare policies."
Read more about the health care study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Business Planning, CEO, cheatsheet, Competitive Positioning, Facts and Figures, Financing Senior Living – Consumer Education, Reports
Genworth Financial has released its long-term care 2015 Cost of Care survey, revealing that the median cost of living in a private room in an assisted...
End of Life, Facts and Figures, Memory Care Best Practices and Research, Memory Care Education, Reports
The Alzheimer’s Association has released its 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease facts and figures report including startling statistics such as one in three sen...
Business Planning, CEO, cheatsheet, Facts and Figures, Finance, Growth Strategies, Property Management, Reports, Strategy
Pick any metric – occupancy, acquisition, inventory, new investments - and the end result is that senior living was hot in 2014, according to an anal...
Consumer Intelligence, End of Life, Managed Risk, Reports
Baby boomers are not necessarily healthier than previous generations, according to a new study published in the health policy journal Milbank Quarterl...
CEO, cheatsheet, Facts and Figures, Human Resources, Reports, Staff Retention, Staffing & Performance
The overall retention rate for assisted living staff was just over 73.1 percent in 2013 with a median turnover rate at 24.2 percent, showing improveme...
End of Life, Health and Wellness, Reports
Policy needs and implications of an aging society must be addressed through restructured workplace policies, more efficient public spending to accommo...
Disabilities, Health and Wellness, Memory Care Education, Physical Plant, Reports
Alzheimer’s Disease International has released a new report “Dementia Friendly Communities,” focusing on global examples of neighborhoods, towns, citi...
CEO, cheatsheet, Reports
ALFA encourages the long-term care community to participate in the 2015 State of Seniors Housing Survey, a project that has captured and widely dissem...
Consumer Intelligence, Facts and Figures, Human Resources, Reports
Today’s average retirement ages of 64 for men and 62 for women are about the same where they were a decade ago, suggesting that some factors spurring ...
Facts and Figures, Health and Wellness, Managed Risk, Memory Care Best Practices and Research, Reports
Scientists have found evidence of the amyloid protein found in Alzheimer’s disease in the brains of people as young as 20. Amyloid is normal in the br...