Special to the Recorder
As you’ve most likely heard, the U.S. House of Representatives recently failed to secure the number of votes needed to pass a bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act and replaced it with a new national health plan. While a new bill is now making its way through Congress, it appears that the current plan will be with us a bit longer. That is probably not good news for young people who don’t want to buy health insurance (or pay a penalty if they don’t buy it) or for people who secure their health insurance through their employer and have seen their costs increase dramatically since the act became law; these two groups would have benefited under the House bill that didn’t pass.
However, seniors may be breathing easier because the House bill would have increased their costs, partly because of their higher utilization of health care services and partly due to the removal of the subsidy coming from younger, healthier people required to buy insurance. This begs a question that we, as a country, have been hesitant to face: Should those who use health care services more heavily bear that burden, or should these costs be spread over to those whose income is highest, live in certain zip codes, etc., to absorb the cost?
Many argue that, if people had to bear more of the cost of their care, they might a) become better consumers by seeking lower cost providers and services and b) they might also take better care of themselves (diet, exercise, smoking cessation, etc.) as they would financially benefit from an improved health status. Unfortunately, many people are avoiding care because they cannot afford it. That eventually leads to a deterioration in health and the development of more serious conditions, the treatment of which are more expensive and ends up costing all of us more in taxes and insurance costs.
Given our aging population, it seems inevitable that health care costs will continue to rise and therefore the costs borne by seniors will continue to grow as a result. Current projections are that a married couple, age 65, needs almost $300,000 to pay their share of health costs not covered by Medicare over their lifetimes. And, that figure does not include long-term care costs such as home care or nursing home costs. Please consider this matter seriously as you develop/review your financial plan so you don’t find yourself having to forgo care because you cannot afford it. As the old adage says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Frederic “Ric” Schilling is a Florida native, born in Jacksonville, Fl. Ric is President of Senior Guardians of America, a local North Florida firm specializing in tax reduction, long term illness planning, asset protection, probate avoidance and life income planning. Ric is a National Speaker and Advocate on Senior Issues and has been featured by the Florida Times Union and WJXT, TV-4 in Jacksonville as an authority on Estate Planning and Retirement Issues. Senior Guardians has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member in excellent standing with the National Ethics Association. Contact Frederic: 904-371-3302 or 888-891-3381 Please visit: www.seniorguardian.com
This article is not intended to give tax or legal advice. Securities offered through Center Street Securities, Inc. (CSS), a registered Broker-Dealer & member FINRA & SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through Center Street Advisors, Inc. (CSA), a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Schilling and Associates (d/b/a Senior Guardians of America) and CSA are independent of CSS.