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.
Policy in the States, Reports
ALFA executive report “ALFA Advocates for You” is now available for members, showcasing the many ways ALFA engages on the state and federal levels to ...
All About Alzheimer’s: A Look at Tests, Ethnicities, Diabetes, Drugs and Dementia-Friendly Communities
Facts and Figures, Health and Wellness, Memory Care Best Practices and Research, Memory Care Education, Reports
Errors on memory and thinking tests could signal Alzheimer’s disease up to 18 years before diagnosis, according to a new study from Rush University re...
Consumer Intelligence, Facts and Figures, Financing Senior Living – Consumer Education, Reports
Most Americans age 40 and older do not feel prepared for planning or financing long-term care for themselves or a loved one, according to a new poll f...
Consumer Intelligence, Facts and Figures, Reports
Homeownership is in decline, according to a new report examining the state of the nation’s housing. The rate of homeownership was just 64.5 percent la...
Disabilities, Facts and Figures, Health and Wellness, Reports
The new report “Status of Women in the States” takes a look at older women across the country and by state including demographics, opportunities, heal...
Business Planning, Career Resources, CEO, cheatsheet, Facts and Figures, Growth Strategies, Human Resources, Job Seekers, Professional Development, Recruiters, Reports, Staffing & Performance
There is a great demand for workers to provide long-term care to older adults in the United States between now and 2030, according to new reports, and...
Facts and Figures, Memory Care Best Practices and Research, Reports
Dementia disproportionately affects women throughout the world and countries need to develop health and social care policies based on evidence of need...
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...