The Coming Baby Boomer Healthcare Crisis 2018

The Baby Boomers

Who are the Baby Boomers, and how did this term come to fruition? Baby Boomers are the generation of Americans whose birthday falls between 1954 and 1964. During the financial ‘boom’ of the 1950’s shortly after the end of the Second World War, the Golden Age of the American family was in full swing with couples having babies at a record pace celebrating the end of a long period of wartime. According to the United States Census Bureau, the Baby Boomer generation accounts for roughly 74.1 million people.

For economic reasons, this sudden population growth was beneficial during the prime adult years of this generation. As for 2018, what happens when this generation begins to age? Retirement benefits such as Social Security become a drain on the system. There is a notable shortage of medical staff nationwide (especially home care workers) which leaves the U.S. healthcare system unprepared and ill-equipped to handle this influx of patients with chronic and other health conditions.

Some important statistics:

•   By 2050, the number of Americans over age 65 will double to almost 90 million 
•   Since 2000 our population has grown by 12%; the senior population has grown by 29%
•   Americans are living longer than ever before, averaging 78.8 years
•   Over 66% of older Americans suffer from multiple chronic diseases

Medicare And Commercial Health Plans

One common theme we see is that a large portion of the Baby Boomer population are switching from commercial health plans over to Medicare. Commercial plans provide better quality, however, they can be quite expensive and have certain restrictions. Seniors who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions (largely chronic conditions) are left with no choice but to switch to Medicare because their commercial plan is no longer affordable for them. On top of this, lower incomes and high costs of living are making it harder for the elderly to make ends meet and to retire at an appropriate age. As a result, Medicare provides an affordable government sponsored option for this demographic. With an excess number of individuals switching to Medicare, this puts a further burden on our healthcare system.

How To Help

The simplest way to help an aging Baby Boomer would be healthier lifestyle choices such as eating less fattening foods, cutting down on smoking and alcohol consumption, and exercising regularly (at least 30 minutes per day).

Regularly monitoring the elderly is becoming more accessible via wearable/trackable devices such as Apple Watch, Fitbit, etc. that keeps a track of calorie counts and steps taken in a day. With the rise of AI (Artificial Intelligence) on the horizon, elderly monitoring will only get better in the years to come and perhaps the silver lining to this will be preventative care and predicting problems before they arise.