As the Boomer population ages, some distinct trends can be seen. More seniors have medical insurance than ever before, and are living healthier lives. They’re also working longer, and retiring later in life. And the vast majority are dealing with chronic diseases. While Medicare kicks in at age 65, it doesn’t cover all expenses and contingencies. To cover the gap, health and life insurance companies offer Medicare supplement insurance for the gaps – which include co-pays, and many expenses including travel-related insurance.
Health care insurance for older Americans
The good news is nearly all Americans over the age of 65 have health insurance. In 2105, the
Commonwealth Fund reported that only 2% of Americans over 65 did not have health insurance policies. This compares favorably with the situation back in 1962, when half of that demographic had no health insurance at all. Health and life insurance companies can help bridge the gap created by expenses not covered by Medicare Parts A and B.
However, as the population continues to age, the chronic diseases associated with old age make up the greater part of health care expenses.
Chronic diseases drive up health care costs
In 2013, the State of Aging and Health in America report found that 95% of the health care costs for older Americans are for the treatment and management of chronic diseases. Among the general population, the treatment of chronic illnesses accounts for more than two-thirds of all health care expenses.
As the population ages, this burden will grow. By 2050, the number of older adults aged 65 and more will be almost 89 million, double what it was in 2010.
A healthy lifestyle at any age
At any age, living a healthy life is important. A sensible mixture of exercise, diet and heathy living can help to prevent many chronic illnesses. The news about the health of older Americans is both good and bad. Some of the commonest illnesses suffered by older Americans are also easily preventable, among them diabetes and heart disease. In fact heart disease is the leading cause of death among people age 65 years and older.
While most people over the age of 65 report that they have given up smoking, they suffer from depression, and are also much more vulnerable to simple diseases like the flu and pneumonia.
Medicare supplement insurance can cover the gaps
While most seniors feel that Medicare works well for the, there are some expenses it does not cover. Many health and life insurance companies offer insurance to cover the so-called Medigap, which refers to the expenses not covered by Medicare. Medigap coverage includes emergency healthcare coverage for travel outside the U.S. It does not cover prescription drugs, long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, and private-duty nursing.
If you and/or your spouse are looking for Medigap coverage, you should talk to a health and life insurance company