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Medical Care for an Aging Population

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Medical Care for an Aging Population
HCS/440 Economics: The Financing of Healthcare
University of Phoenix Online

Medical Care for an Aging Population There are many issues that face the health care system for the aging population such as the strain on major funding programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and social security by not having enough funding to cover the growing baby boomer population as they reach retirement age. Social security is the largest federal spending program and Medicare is the fastest growing program and with less working adults than those 65 and older, these programs face issues that could be solved in several ways including raising the retirement age beyond 65, Raising the taxable wage limits for social security and Medicare, and building more long term care and memory care facilities. With an increase in the aging population medical care may be difficult to afford as the increased use of services puts a strain on funding programs requiring changes on how we fund these programs and who will qualify.
Raising Retirement Age
There are many issues that face the health care system for the aging population such as the strain on major funding programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and social security by not having enough funding to cover the growing baby boomer population as they reach retirement age. Raising the retirement age beyond age 65 is a proposed solution to increase the funding for the program. Life expectancy continues to grow and we are living so extending the retirement age makes sense. The retirement age is 65 for those born before 1938, 66 for those born between 1938 and 1954, and will be 67 for those born after 1954 and is expected to be effective by 2022 (Wittenburg, 2000). Raising the retirement age will decrease the number of candidate’s eligible for the entitlement programs for a certain period of time allowing these programs to accumulate savings estimated around $23.2 billion with a 11.1% drop in Medicare beneficiaries and a $23.2 billion saving in Medicare expenditures (Wittenburg, 2000). Although there are savings on the programs there are still many people that will no longer be eligible.
Raising Taxable Wage limits
Raising taxes is something no one wants to hear, but with the threat of losing retirement entitlements via social security and health care coverage via Medicare is much worse than paying a little more in social security and Medicare taxes. Last year the maximum taxable wage for Social security was $117,000 meaning those who made more than that amount do not contribute to social security but also do not qualify to receive the benefits at retirement. Increasing that amount to $118,500 at a 6.2% tax allows more funding for the program as more workers will pay into the system (ADP, 2014). Raising taxes is difficult as we must convince the tax payers that it is needed to ensure a future of these federal programs.
Increase Long Term Care Facilities
As the aging population continues to grow, access to long term care services will increase in demand and supply will get smaller. By 2030 those aged 65 and older is expected to double and because we are now living longer and healthier it is important to have enough facilities and health care workers to accommodate for this increase in those needing memory care services and assisted living services. To ensure the supply of long term care facilities meets the demand we must open new facilities or expand existing facilities. According to Weiner and Tilly (2002), “Between 2000 and 2050, the number of older people is projected to increase by 135%. Moreover, the population aged 85 and over, which is the group most likely to need health and long-term care services, is projected to increase by 350%” (para. 2). Access to quality health care is a major concern and to ensure access to long term care services we must have enough facilities to accommodate the growing baby boomer generation.
Medical care for the aging population faces many issues economically as the baby boomers reach retirement age and require more health care than ever before. Funding programs such as Medicare and Social security face funding issues as there are less working adults contributing to the program and a larger amount of older adults receiving benefits. Solutions to these issues could be as simple as extending the retirement age to 67, increasing the taxable wages for Social security, and opening more long term care facilities to care for the increase in health care needs for the elderly.

References ADP. (2014). Changes to social security snf Medicare wages and rates, and Pension Plan limitations for 2015. Retrieved from http://www.adp.com/tools-and-resources/adp- research-institute/insights/insight-item-detail.aspx?id=F5E4F8C7-0887-4C94-AFEB- 21C7B25DD3BF
Wiener, J., & Tilly, J. (2002, August). Population ageing in the United States of America: implications for public programs. International Journal of Epidemiology, 31(4), 776-781.
Wittenburg, D.C. (2000). How raising rhe age of eligibility for social security and Medicare might affect the disability insurance and Medicare programs. Retrieved from http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v63n4/v63n4p17.pdf

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