Planning for government benefits is more important than ever. We have a heavily aging population and we are facing severe budgeting problems in Washington. This will probably result in government benefits (Medi-Cal, for example) becoming more difficult to obtain due to stricter qualification guidelines.
Want proof. The latest U.S. Census Bureau brief on data from the 2010 Census shows seniors increasing faster than the younger population, raising the nation’s median age from 35.3 in 2000 to 37.2 in 2010, with seven states having a median age of 40 or older.
Between 2000 and 2010, the 45 to 64 population grew over 31 percent and now makes up greater than 26 percent of the total U.S. population. This rapid growth is due to the aging of the Baby Boomer generation. Each year more than 3.5 million Boomers turn 55. Their swelling numbers indicate that by 2012 America’s 50 and older population will reach 100 million. According to the UN Population Division, 1 in 5 people are expected to be 65 or older by 2035.
These numbers indicate that there will most likely be fewer government benefits in the future as the bulk of the working population retires with fewer people in the work force paying into social security and other government assistance programs.
Couple all of this with our basic human thought process. As a recent article in Forbes, details, we tend to think we are much healthier than we actually are. Of course, this is why many people don’t plan; simply put, they think nothing will happen to them. Unfortunately, sometimes, things do happen for factors beyond the person’s control. Being unprepared can create issues that affect all of one’s loved ones.
Currently, of course, Medi-Cal Medicaid (for skilled nursing) exists as does the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension Benefit. (somewhat more limited in its payout but useful for not only skilled nursing but also assisted living or in home care).
Will these benefit programs be available as you age? Probably not in their present form. So planning means proper estate planning documents, of course, but, also, proper investment and insurance. In this case, insurance means long term care insurance. Is it expensive? As compared to what? Destitution? So it is important to at least investigate this insurance product.