As of 2014, 3 million baby boomers will reach retirement age every year for the next twenty years, and more than 71 million Americans will be 65 or older by 2029.1 This number will place a huge demand on the healthcare system in this country. In addition, every day this year 11,000 baby boomers become eligible for Medicare.2 They will begin switching from commercial healthcare plans to Medicare, which will put pressure on the government program. This switch will affect a hospital’s revenue mix because reimbursement by the government is usually lower than that of commercial plans. By 2029, 20% of Americans will be Medicare eligible, and the number of those able to pay into Medicare will drop to 57%.1
Medical Professionals (Baby Boomers) Retiring
With life-expectancy higher for baby boomers than previous generations, the need for more medical and nursing facilities will rise, as will the demand for doctors and nurses and other members of multidisciplinary teams. However, a majority of doctors are baby boomers and have retired or are planning to retire soon. Baby boomer patients already outnumber doctors and other medical staff available to treat them. Howard Bedlin of the National Council on Aging (NCOA) stated that the US will need 1.6 million new care providers by 2020 to meet the needs of baby boomers.1
The Price of Poor Lifestyle Choices
A study conducted by Jama Internal Medicine revealed that the baby boomer generation may have a higher life-expectancy than previous generations, but they have a higher incidence of chronic disease, disability, and poor lifestyle choices.3 These findings strengthen the prediction that healthcare costs will rise — and continue to rise — and there will be a dire need for healthcare professionals, especially those specializing in geriatric care. Chronically ill patients will place a strain on the already taxed Medicare program, and will drive up hospital costs as patients are admitted more often due to chronic conditions. Consequently, hospitals may be forced to take on the financial burden. 1
Getting Older is Costly
Getting older comes with a slew of problems and needs, regardless of chronic illness and poor lifestyle habits. Aging increases the need for more direct care and assistance, whether in the comfort of one’s home, a practitioner’s office, a nursing or skilled nursing facility or a hospital. It is estimated that 25% of healthcare expenditures will increase by 2030 as a result of the natural aging process.4 This rise will cause insurance companies and Medicare to look for ways to cut costs that in turn will lead to more cost pressure being put on providers.5
With the baby boomers representing 1/3 of the US population, the healthcare system is going to be hit with new challenges. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities, already facing increased budget pressure, will be facing even greater financial challenges. Now is the time to find ways to increase your facility’s efficiency and save money. Contact us for more information on . By effectively managing people, premises, and protocols, IntelliCentrics helps facilities overcome complex challenges including the burden to reduce HAIs, decreasing budgets, and the increasing number of regulatory requirements.