Health, Wealth & Support for Seniors
- Q1 2012
- Industry Perspective
IN THIS REPORT
Providing and financing high-quality health care for a large, rapidly growing and diverse population of older Americans is a massive challenge. This dynamic is already putting tremendous pressure on care delivery and reimbursement models that are ill-equipped to adapt to the demands of a new and expanding generation of seniors.
In our first report, we assessed the impact of the changing landscape of providing care for seniors in the U.S. health system, and identified innovative approaches to enhancing the coordination of care, collaboration among care providers and support for home-based settings.
Our focus for this report will be on the myriad of choices facing seniors as they confront the biggest financial, and often most important personal, decisions they make each year - selecting and paying for care and preservation of their health - ideally in a way that allows them to remain in their own home or community.
Several important dynamics currently influence how seniors and their adult children make decisions relative to health and prescription drug coverage, wealth management, and care delivery. These include:
- An ever-increasing linkage of health and wealth: As transitional pension and retiree health benefit programs dwindle, common financial planning pitfalls are exposed as a senior’s retirement and health care needs are planned in isolation from one another. While these two planning processes have traditionally been independent from each other, they are rapidly converging as seniors seek out the means to pay for care alternatives.
- Misconceptions around Medicare and Medicaid: A lack of information and understanding about the coverage and limitations of Medicare and Medicaid are a common challenge in financial planning frustrations for seniors.
- Marketing challenges: Marketing to seniors is frustrating as this demographic group poses unique issues around trust, loyalty and product information.
- Mistrust and confusion regarding health and prescription drugs: Countless health and wellness options are currently available and marketed to seniors. The myriad of choices create uncertainty, confusion and anxiety as they attempt to navigate through a decision-making process vastly different from what they knew in their employer-sponsored health benefit world.
Personalization, education, advocacy, and ultimately, trust, are required as seniors and their adult children research and make decisions around necessary external care and support services. Fortunately, this challenge is being addressed through a number of new and innovative approaches tailored specifically for seniors.