• Follow us

Health

Many Americans Will Need Long-Term Care. Most Won’t be Able to Afford It.

Gretchen Harris likes the small brick house she bought in Norman, Okla., 36 years ago. She’s fond of her neighbors and the magnolia tree she planted in the front yard. And having a single-story residence proved helpful after knee replacement surgery last summer.

“It’s always been a good size for me,” she said.

But Ms. Harris, 72, a retired attorney, has grappled with assorted health problems — heart disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis — and takes a long list of prescription drugs.

Though she feels well enough to hear cases a few days a month as a state administrative law judge and to stay involved in educational and church activities, she worries about the future.

“It weighs on my mind some,” she said. Divorced, childless and without family nearby, “I am going to need some long-term support, independent or assisted living, rather than just living by myself.”

But will she be able to afford it on her income, $4,600 a month from a state pension and Social Security? Ms. Harris has no retirement savings and still pays a mortgage on her house, refinanced several times.

[Like the Science Times page on Facebook. | Sign up for the Science Times newsletter.]

She might be able to swing $3,425 for a one-bedroom apartment in assisted living, which an annual survey by Genworth, a financial company, says is the current Oklahoma state median. But that’s projected to hit $4,600 in 10 years; one assisted living facility in Norman is already charging $4,260 and up.

Even if she sold her house, Ms. Harris calculates, she would fall short. “It’s the middle-class bind,” she said. Too much money to qualify for Medicaid or subsidized housing, but not enough to pay for long-term care, an industry that has primarily pursued the well-off.

A recent analysis in Health Affairs, pointedly titled “The Forgotten Middle,” investigated how many middle-income seniors will be caught in that bind. The numbers were grim.

Using data from the national Health and Retirement Study, including personal income and assets and health status, the researchers defined the middle-income cohort as Americans from the 41st to the 80th percentile in terms of financial resources.

In 2029, for people 75 to 84 (ages when they’re likely to need long-term care), that would mean access to about $25,000 to $74,000 a year in current dollars. Over age 85, the middle-income category extends to $95,000.

About 14.4 million people will fall into the middle-income category, almost double the current number. Sixty percent will need canes, walkers or wheelchairs to remain mobile, the analysis estimated, and 20 percent will need extensive help with the so-called activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing.

They’re a better educated and more diverse group of older adults than in the past, less likely to experience poverty. Still, most will be unable to afford assisted living, the authors found.

A decade hence, 80 percent of middle-income seniors will have less than $60,000 a year in income and assets, not including equity in their homes. Yet the estimated cost of assisted living plus out-of-pocket medical expenses will hit $62,000, by the team’s conservative estimate.

“This group gets ignored and underserved in today’s long-term care market, and it’s a problem that’s going to explode over the next 20 years,” said Caroline Pearson, a health researcher at Norc (formerly the National Opinion Research Center) at the University of Chicago and lead author of the study. “When you see the numbers, it’s sobering.”

Depending on how one defines the need, half to two-thirds of older Americans will eventually require long-term care.

Like Ms. Harris, many consider selling their homes to finance it. (The analysis includes assisted and independent living but omits nursing homes, where Medicaid becomes a major payer.)

Even among middle-income seniors with housing equity, though, more than half will be unable to pay assisted living fees and medical costs in 2029, the study found. (Independent living, while cheaper, provides some services but no hands-on care.)

“Though a very large percentage of older adults own homes, the amount of equity they have isn’t as much as they think,” said Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. “They’ve used home equity for other things, including health care.”

Mr. Gleckman looked into housing equity as a member of the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative, a group of policy experts. “In places like New York or D.C., you might think of a middle income house as worth close to a million bucks,” he said. “In a lot of the country, the value of the house is $150,000.”

The collaborative found that among 65- to 74-year-olds, the median household had about $100,000 in home equity and an equal amount in other assets. “It doesn’t go very far,” Mr. Gleckman said.

While the Genworth survey puts the current national average for a one-bedroom apartment in assisted living at $4,120 monthly, geographic variations can be extreme, from about $3,700 in New Orleans to over $6,000 in Boston.

Moreover, today’s middle-income older adults have more debt and less savings than earlier cohorts. They’re less likely to receive pensions and have smaller families to turn to for unpaid care.

“A lot of us are going to get stuck in this middle, and it’s pretty scary,” said David Grabowski, a health policy researcher at the Harvard Medical School and the new study’s senior author.

As it happens, the same week the research was published, the federal government issued its annual report on Medicare and Social Security solvency. Next year, Social Security’s costs will start exceeding its income; the program is projected to deplete its reserves in 16 years. Medicare will deplete its hospital fund in just seven years.

That doesn’t mean either program will evaporate, but benefits will decline if Congress doesn’t take action — as it always has — to shore up financing.

“It’s hard to imagine that Congress wouldn’t step up to make sure they remain viable for future generations,” said Tricia Neuman, director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Medicare policy program.

“At the same time, there are tough choices to make, some of which could make long-term care harder to afford.” An example: shifting additional costs to Medicare beneficiaries.

The United States, unlike many Western democracies, has never created a broad public program covering long-term care. Medicare pays for doctors, hospitals, drugs and short-term rehab after hospitalization — not for independent or assisted living.

That could change one day — imagine a new Medicare Part LTC — but “that will be incredibly difficult to achieve politically,” Ms. Pearson said.

Policy types instead suggest more incremental changes by both government and industry. Perhaps Medicaid could cover seniors with slightly higher incomes, or modify its regulations to include housing costs along with health care.

The federal government could expand the tax credits it gives developers of low-income senior housing to encourage housing for middle-class seniors. Assisted-living operators might aim for the middle market, with less luxe décor.

Already, Dr. Grabowski pointed out, some chains are offering their own Medicare Advantage plans, which can now cover certain support services for residents.

“There’s some innovation happening here,” he said.

Gretchen Harris may need senior housing before such innovations take hold, however. She would find it distressing to leave Norman, where she’s lived nearly all her adult life.

But if finances dictate, she’s contemplating a move to Little Rock, Ark. She has cousins there.

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

ABC News: Health

Across US, activists protest new wave of abortion New! 2019-05-21 17:15:24Abortion rights supporters are holding rallies at the U.S. Supreme Court, statehouses and other sites across the nation to oppose the wave of tough ab

States sue over rule allowing clinicians to refuse New! 2019-05-21 17:10:13Nearly two dozen states and municipalities are suing the federal government to stop a new rule letting health care providers object to services that c

Vermont attorney general sues owners of opioid manufacturer New! 2019-05-21 16:57:42Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan says he's filed suit against eight members of the family that owns the drug company that manufactures OxyContin

Oregon hunts for bodies at ex-asylum seen in New! 2019-05-21 16:41:26Oregon will use ground-penetrating radar to search for bodies buried on a campus of the former psychiatric hospital where the movie "One Flew Over th

At abortion clinics, new laws sow confusion, uncertainty New! 2019-05-21 15:55:58Abortion providers say they are reassuring confused patients that restrictive abortion laws passed by a number of states have yet to take effect

Woman who had hot wax dropped in her New! 2019-05-21 15:54:15A Connecticut woman who got hot wax dropped in her eye at beauty spa has settled a lawsuit against the now-closed business for $400,000

Judge: Mississippi 6-week abortion ban 'smacks of defiance' New! 2019-05-21 14:38:16A federal judge who struck down Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban last year says the state's lawmakers defied his ruling by passing a new law that

The Latest: Judge questions Mississippi 6-week abortion ban New! 2019-05-21 13:07:14A federal judge who struck down Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban last year is sharply questioning a new state law that bans abortions even earlier

Correction: WHO Travel story New! 2019-05-21 12:23:57Correction: WHO Travel story

Frenchman in vegetative state kept alive after appeal 2019-05-21 11:17:25A last-ditch appeal to the United Nations has forced French doctors to resume life support for a man who has been in a vegetative state for years and

Cholesterol improves in US kids despite high obesity 2019-05-21 11:12:28Cholesterol levels in children and teens improve in the latest analysis of U.S. health surveys

California eyes health care for immigrants in US 2019-05-21 01:50:18California lawmakers are eyeing proposals that would make the state the first in the nation to offer government-funded health care to adult immigrants

NYT > Health

Why Tuesday’s City Primary Could Mean the End 2019-05-20 15:24:24The tax isn’t on the ballot, but the beverage industry has spent more than $600,000 to back City Council and mayoral candidates who want to stri

Why High-Class People Get Away With Incompetence 2019-05-20 15:15:05People who came from higher social classes were more likely to have an inflated sense of their skills, a new study found. This overconfidence was inte

Phys Ed: To Move Is to Thrive. It’s 2019-05-20 14:22:23A need and desire to be in motion may have been bred into our DNA before we even became humans.

A.I. Took a Test to Detect Lung Cancer. 2019-05-20 11:29:13Artificial intelligence may help doctors make more accurate readings of CT scans used to screen for lung cancer.

Personal Health: Millions Take Gabapentin for Pain. But 2019-05-20 10:45:52“There is very little data to justify how these drugs are being used and why they should be in the top 10 in sales,” a researcher said.

Turmeric Takes a Star Turn in Cocktails 2019-05-20 10:32:49The spice widely praised as a curative superfood is showing up in a different kind of medication.

French Patient in Right-to-Die Dispute Is Taken Off 2019-05-20 07:32:20Vincent Lambert was left in a vegetative state after a 2008 car accident. His family has been split over whether to let doctors stop artificially feed

The Checkup: Is ‘Digital Addiction’ a Real Threat 2019-05-20 05:00:03Think of screens as something to handle in moderation, like food, rather than something without any healthy place in our lives, like heroin, experts

The New Health Care: Is Our Health Care 2019-05-20 05:00:02Putting a price on longevity or well-being is tricky, but not impossible.

Deadly Germs, Lost Cures: Citrus Farmers Facing Deadly 2019-05-19 20:29:15In its decision to approve two drugs for orange and grapefruit trees, the E.P.A. largely ignored objections from the C.D.C. and the F.D.A., which fear

What Does It Really Mean to Be 6 2019-05-19 11:07:13So-called ‘heartbeat’ legislation restricting abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy has started a conversation about when most wom

Maternity Leave for Sponsored Runners 2019-05-18 08:00:01A video about female runners losing their pay and health insurance if they are pregnant sends ripples through the running world.

Scientific American: Health

The Polycystic Sisterhood 2019-05-21 07:00:00Infertility is on the rise, but one major cause—polycystic ovarian syndrome—gets too little attention -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.c

Cannabis Compound Eases Anxiety and Cravings of Heroin 2019-05-21 06:45:00Cannabidiol reduces levels of stress hormone and blunts urge to use opioids -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

I Hate the Month of May 2019-05-20 14:00:00It will forever remind me that ALS took my mom away -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Health Researchers Must Work <em>with</em> Communities, Not <em>on</em> 2019-05-20 12:00:00So how should they go about it? -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

The Next Wave of Immuno-Oncology 2019-05-20 07:00:00A cutting-edge therapy currently used for blood cancers is now being adapted to fight solid tumors -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

The Ethical Quandary in Health Care Reform 2019-05-17 07:00:00Freedom of choice is an American value—but people without resources don’t have much of a choice -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Smartphone App Screens Kids for Ear Problems 2019-05-16 15:45:00Parents can use a digital tool at home to detect fluid behind the eardrum -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Can You Prevent Pregnancy with the Pullout Method? 2019-05-16 13:30:00An investigation into one of the biggest misconceptions in male fertility -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Autism May Be Diagnosed by Age Two 2019-05-16 12:30:00New study suggests that early screening may benefit some children -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Could a Single Live Vaccine Protect against a 2019-05-16 08:00:00A controversial theory holds that one immunization, given properly, can protect against many diseases besides its target -- Read more on ScientificAme

Brain-Controlled Hearing Aids Could Cut through Crowd Noise 2019-05-15 14:30:00A prototype detects whom you are listening to and amplifies only that speaker’s voice; a potential solution to the “cocktail party problem

Can Knowing Your Genetic Risk Change Your Physiology? 2019-05-15 10:30:00We now have unprecedented amounts of information on our own genetics, thanks to at-home DNA testing kits. But what does all of this information do to

MedicineNet Daily News

The Top 5 Veggies to Add to Your 2019-05-21 03:00:00Title: The Top 5 Veggies to Add to Your DietCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/20/2019 12:00:00 AM

Suicides Increase Among U.S. Kids, But More in 2019-05-21 03:00:00Title: Suicides Increase Among U.S. Kids, But More in Girls Than BoysCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/20/20

Crash Risk Much Higher for Teen Drivers With 2019-05-21 03:00:00Title: Crash Risk Much Higher for Teen Drivers With ADHDCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/20/2019 12:00:00 A

When E-Cig Makers Offer Promotional Items, More Teens 2019-05-21 03:00:00Title: When E-Cig Makers Offer Promotional Items, More Teens Likely to VapeCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5

Health Tip: Safely Storing Guns 2019-05-21 03:00:00Title: Health Tip: Safely Storing GunsCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/20/2019 12:00:00 AM

Undeclared Soy in Some Salads, Wraps at Whole 2019-05-21 03:00:00Title: Undeclared Soy in Some Salads, Wraps at Whole Foods MarketsCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/20/2019

1 in 5 Kids Don't Strap on Helmets 2019-05-21 03:00:00Title: 1 in 5 Kids Don't Strap on Helmets Before BikingCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/20/2019 12:00:00 A

AHA News: Drummer's Death Inspires Grief-Stricken Bandmates to 2019-05-21 03:00:00Title: AHA News: Drummer's Death Inspires Grief-Stricken Bandmates to Rethink Rock 'n' Roll LifestyleCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/17/2019 12:00:

Sugary Drinks and Fruit Juice May Increase Risk 2019-05-21 03:00:00Title: Sugary Drinks and Fruit Juice May Increase Risk of Early DeathCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/20/20

For Women With HIV, Daily Life Can Impede 2019-05-21 03:00:00Title: For Women With HIV, Daily Life Can Impede Fight Against VirusCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/20/201

Health Tip: Bed Bug Protection 2019-05-21 03:00:00Title: Health Tip: Bed Bug ProtectionCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/20/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5/20/2019 12:00:00 AM

Love the Smell of a Cup o' Joe? 2019-05-21 03:00:00Title: Love the Smell of a Cup o' Joe? Here's What That Reveals About YouCategory: Health NewsCreated: 5/17/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 5

FOX News

Midwife discovers that she delivered her assistant 19 2019-05-20 13:00:39A midwife in training made a shocking discovery after helping deliver her first baby: her instructor had delivered her 19 years earlier.

'Game of Thrones' counseling available for those mourning 2019-05-20 12:07:53For many “Game of Thrones” super fans, last night’s series finale felt more like losing a loved one than the end of a television sho

Vienna Beef recalls more than 2,000 pounds of 2019-05-20 08:51:07The “skinless beef frankfurters” were shipped to Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, according to a USDA product recall notice.

Dallas teen beats stage 4 cancer to graduate 2019-05-19 19:40:57Joshua Suarez beat stage four testicular cancer, and now is ready to graduate high school in Texas.

6 everyday products that could cause you to 2019-05-19 06:00:56But poppy seeds aren’t the only ingredient that could show up on a toxicology screen.

Chef temporarily lost hearing after eating spicy meal: 2019-05-19 05:00:25If eating one of the hottest chili peppers sounds daunting, imagine crushing one hundred of them into a spaghetti dish and calling it a meal.

Processed foods may be addictive, 'landmark' study claims 2019-05-18 15:56:02Anyone who’s ever pulled open a bag of potato chips knows how hard it can be to set it aside unfinished.

Sleep paralysis: Causes, symptoms and treatment 2019-05-18 05:00:37People may wake in the middle of the night and find themselves unable to move or utter a sound.

Teen diagnosed with early menopause says she won't 2019-05-17 15:32:12A teenager going through early menopause at age 15 is finding support with a group of girls who were diagnosed with similar conditions.

Mom contracts sepsis from medical swab left inside 2019-05-17 15:28:05Paige Balding, 20, was diagnosed with sepsis after she gave birth to her son Hunter Jae July last year.

Texas woman taken off life support against family's 2019-05-17 12:55:59A Texas woman was taken off life-support Monday, against her family's wishes, after the hospital invoked a law allowing them to deny further car

Exclusive: U.S. drug czar to travel to China 2019-05-17 11:19:00U.S. drug czar James Carroll says he will be traveling to China by year's end to inspect their efforts to crack down on fentanyl manufacturers and pr


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.