Long-Term Care: Part I—A Personal Crisis in the Making.

In this, the first of a three-part series of articles, we’ll touch on the importance of long-term care and how it could affect virtually everyone in the years to come.

If you think the current financial upheaval in our country is bad, looming on the horizon is another crisis that will have even more far-reaching and devastating effects on Americans. It’s long-term care.

Medicare and Medicaid are the primary resources that older Americans count upon to help them with their medical expenses. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we are already some $60 trillion in the hole and the huge “Baby Boomer” generation is just now reaching retirement age and will be in need of long-term support. Add in the recent threats of Congressional changes to these cornerstone programs and it’s easy to see that millions of us will be impacted.

By 2030, almost 20-percent of the U.S. population will be 65 years of age or older and this aging population will further drain our country’s resources. Compounding the situation is that life expectancy is growing even faster than the elderly population. Over the past 100 years, life expectancy has increased over 30 years. At the turn of the century in 1900, we lived to be about 48. Now, it’s nearly 78, with women outliving men by nearly three years, on average.

Assuming most people retire at age 65, someone or something has to cover the medical expenses for many years to come. The government bureaucracy and available funding has already demonstrated that it can’t handle the coming wave of seniors. Further, there is great evidence that the system is being badly abused due to vague regulation, loopholes, and inadequate monitoring. It’s just not sufficient to sustain the needs of all Americans.

Medicare and Medicaid were designed originally to aid the poor; however, virtually all Americans have come to believe these are intended for them, regardless of means. Millions of people have taken advantage of and overwhelmed the system.

This has caused the system to become inefficient and far too costly to remain afloat. The only real solution is to take matters into our own hands to make certain we have the coverage we will need in the future.

In Part II of this discussion, we’ll look at the “800-pound gorilla” called long-term care.

When you need help, contact me at ronald.bernheim@natplan.com or www.ronaldbernheim.com.

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About the author: About Ronald Bernheim, the owner of Financial Freedom Wealth Management Services, in Chatsworth, CA. He offers a free, no-obligation counseling session to determine whether a financial review or comprehensive plan is indicated. Interested parties may call (818) 626-9498 or e-mail ronald.bernheim@lpl.com or visit the website at www.ronaldbernheim.com.

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