Dychtwald on Long Term Care
Editor's note: Senior Market Advisor recently spoke with Dr. Ken Dychtwald, an expert on aging, and Colleen Goldhammer, Genworth senior VP, to get their thoughts on the health care debate and how advisors can help their senior clients navigate through this complex issue.
SMA: You've spoken about that "caregiver crunch" at many of your lectures. Can you explain what that means?
KD: It's a major medical issue that will soon be facing us all. Back in the pre-boomer generations, families typically had at least four kids each, which meant a lot of help to call on when the parents became elderly. The boomers have had half as many kids. And 80 percent of middle-aged women today work full-time, unlike the old days. When a care event arises, they have to ask themselves, "Can I afford to leave my job to take care of my parents?" Families no longer live in the same neighborhoods or even states as their parents, which makes care a challenge. And there are an enormous number of Americans who will live much, much longer than previous generations.
Where the health bill stands
As we go to press for this issue on Jan. 13, health care reform legislation is fluid as the two sides of the House are working to bring their different visions together. In short, they want to make health insurance "more affordable than current versions of the legislation," according to a news report from National Underwriter.
What are senior advocacy groups saying?
According to AMA immediate-past President Nancy Nielsen, M.D., "Physicians want to care for seniors and military family patients, but steep payment cuts of 21 percent next year, with more in years to come, will force them to limit the Medicare and TRICARE patients they can treat." In support of the passing of the bill, Dr. Nielsen added, "Swift passage of H.R. 3961 will be a vote of confidence for America's physicians as they decide if they can participate in Medicare next year and care for seniors and military families."