Senior citizens are an important part of society for several reasons. First of all, older adults are often wiser and more experienced in many aspects of life, enabling younger generations to learn from useful life skills from them. Another reason why senior citizens are important to society is because of their financial contributions to the world. According to the Senior Journal, larger amounts of adults age 65 and older are experiencing greater financial stability, allowing those in this age group to boost the economy through their spending. There are also other reasons why seniors are important to society, however, in the coming decades, their healthcare costs are projected to bankrupt the world. Here is why:
Due to the various advancements in medicine, including the discovery of more useful and effective treatments for many illnesses, more and more people are living longer lives. The longer people live, the more all of their necessities have to be taken care of, especially healthcare costs. Decades ago, before the Baby Boomers (those born between the years of 1946-1964), many adults didn’t live as long as they do currently, which resulted in substantially less medical spending.
Increase in Chronic Illnesses
Despite much technological advancement in the health care industry, senior citizens are suffering from chronic conditions, such as hypertension, arthritis and many other illnesses, at higher rates. Diabetes, which is rapidly reaching epidemic proportions, is the 7th leading cause of death in America. If the current rates of individuals becoming diabetic continues, by 2050, 1 in 3 adults will develop diabetes. This is expected to send healthcare costs through the roof. The amount of older adults who are obese has risen as well, and obesity is often the primary cause of type II diabetes, hypertension, increased stroke risk, heart disease, cancer and more. Coupled with the increase in technological advancements that enables seniors suffering from these and other conditions to live longer, healthcare costs are anticipated to double, and possibly even triple, in the coming years and decades.
Increased Medicaid & Medicare Costs
When a senior turns 65, they are automatically eligible to sign up for Medicare, a government-based insurance program. If a senior is low-income, they may also qualify for Medicaid as a supplement, which is another government-funded healthcare program. The United States and even governments in other countries, are already experiencing financial catastrophe, so by being required to pay even more in order to fund these government-based healthcare programs, much-needed funds will be taken from other programs that are equally, if not even more, important than Medicare and Medicaid.
Despite the many advantages of having senior citizens live longer and more prosperous lives, healthcare costs are expected continue to rise to insurmountable proportions over the next few decades, and they have already shown significant increase since the 1980s and 90s. This can certainly lead to the world going bankrupt; however, if certain provisions are made to incorporate this increased amount of healthcare spending into the various governmental budgets without increasing taxes to the point that working individuals are forced to live lower standards of life, perhaps it might be possible to prevent such a world-wide healthcare-related financial deficit.
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Della White has worked as a medical data analyst for more than a decade and contributed to How To Become A Medical Data Analyst as a resource for those interested in a career as a medical data analyst.