It has often been said that the only constant in health care is change. Socioeconomic trends can be all over the map, which often makes it trying to rapidly and effectively adjust health care informatics and clinical infrastructure in response. One trend that is not slowing down any time soon is the rate at which the aging population is growing.

Each day, 10,000 individuals from the baby boomer generation reach that pivotal 65-year milestone. This means an astounding amount of seniors with a wide range of health needs will demonstrate a greater need for and utilization of home health care, medical transportation, adult day cares, assisted living centers, retirement communities, and skilled nursing homes.

Organizations such as assisted living facilities typically offer care on a sliding scale, meaning they are provided as-needed according to someone’s medical necessity. However, the expectation is that residents will need a greater number of these services as they age and their care becomes more complex.

For this reason, each of these services is considered long-term care for established patients. The concern is that the health care system cannot support such a large demand for these services, as there is a limited number of health care clinicians and available beds in facilities. These trends are also causing the cost of such long-term care services to steadily increase. KHN recorded that the rates for facility- and home-based health care services have risen between 1.8 and 3.8% each year.

Additionally, more than half of Americans over the age of 65 will at some point develop a medical condition that requires long-term care for at least three years. Seniors on fixed budgets with limited resources will likely struggle to repay these ever-increasing fees. Thus, the burden may fall to family members, paid or unpaid caregivers, and other community organizations who will need to supplement their care.

The bottom line is that aging individuals, especially those of the baby boomer generation, will need a growing amount of health care in the next 40 years. As it stands, it may be difficult for our framework to meet these demands with consideration given to increasing attrition rates, facilities at maximum capacity, and high levels of medical professional burnout.

However, health insurance companies can plan ahead to ensure their services and resources fill the gap for older subscribers (and all others) in need of long-term care. It is crucial that carriers secure and expand their alliances with clinicians to ensure they have a robust provider network. If your network could use more support, reach out to TOG Network Solutions today for a consultation.