Home Healthcare Increase Potentially On the Way

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2021 | Elder Law, Estate Planning

There may be help on the way for seniors, particularly those who are interested in using, or are already using, home healthcare options. According to the Wall Street Journal, President Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan would set aside $400 billion to allow more seniors to access healthcare at home.
This would be great news if it comes to pass. Seniors already struggle with many healthcare costs and issues, from finding and affording transportation to appointments, to affording prescriptions. Those who don’t have family close by but aren’t yet ready, willing, or able to move to assisted living communities would have greater financial help in affording care from home.
In addition, this is a problem that is only going to get worse if not addressed. The 2020 census results came out recently and show that the American population is only growing grayer. The number of adults aged 65 and older grew by more than a third in the past decade, and this trend is expected to continue. The birth rate also fell, which means we are not having enough babies nationwide to offset the aging population.
Seniors have already struggled with affording or accessing health care for many years. The growth in the senior population means there is likely to be a corresponding increase in demand placed on programs like Social Security as more Baby Boomers age into eligibility. Many seniors struggle to age in place as well, particularly as the majority of the homes built in the US are not built with that goal in mind, and the senior living at home requires a caregiver to assist.
Long-term care is often promoted as a solution, and for some, it can be. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all, nor is it always affordable, applicable, or what the senior wants to do. John Oliver of Last Week Tonight looked at the long-term care industry in April of this year and gave a great summary of exactly why the industry struggles. One of the biggest hurdles to entering a long-term care situation is the affordability – many seniors and their families simply cannot afford to place a loved one in a care facility for very long.
This proposed funding would pave the way for increased healthcare at home – freeing up hospitals and medical institutions from having to see minor issues that can be treated by other professionals, reserving the hospital capacity for emergencies. As we’ve learned from the pandemic over the past year, it is actually possible to overwhelm that capacity.
A lot of good could come from structural changes to the way seniors access and afford healthcare, and this increase in funding for care options could be a good start.