weekly blog--one for the ages
Addressing a deeply divided Congress and nation earlier this week, President Trump called for bipartisan efforts on issues like infrastructure and immigration. Now it’s ConfrontingAging’s turn to address some of the challenges of aging in the years ahead, and to no surprise, many of the issues revolve around finance and health. But what is especially interesting is that white-collar workers…professionals such as doctors, counselors, and managers…often see things differently than blue-collar workers.
According to a National Council on Aging study, blue-collar workers tend to focus on maintaining their physical and mental health as they get older, and are particularly concerned about memory loss. White-collars are more worried about their finances and the accessibility of affordable housing.
Also, only 10 percent of white-collars think that seniors are "very prepared" to face old age, while more than 40 percent of blue-collars feel they are reasonably well prepared for what lies ahead.
Regardless of collar color, almost 60 percent have not changed residence in the last 20 years, and 75 percent say they "intend to live in their current home for the rest of their lives." However, the majority say they would like to see more services available to help them adapt their homes for their developing needs. Many respondents admitted that they will need help maintaining their homes, but most of them do not believe that their communities have the ability to help them out.
Both groups anticipate that they will have to give up driving as they get older, and so they want access to better public transportation. About a third of those surveyed said that providing better public transportation is the single most important thing their community could do to make it easier for them to get around.
Only about one in five blue-collars believe they will need support managing their finances as they get older. However, white-collars believe that they will need help figuring out their finances, especially when it comes to medical bills.
Both collars worry about the constantly increasing cost of living, as well as a sudden and unexpectedly large medical expense. When looking to save money, blue-collars turn to senior discounts and try to limit expenses involving travel and vacation. White-collars take a longer term perspective. They recommend that more people consider working beyond retirement age to shore up their finances, and then take some serious steps to reduce their biggest ongoing expense--the cost of housing.
Finally, everyone agrees it's important to exercise and eat healthy as we get older. It also helps to keep a positive attitude and stay active socially.
One of the Road
After years of lobbying, the U.S. Telehealth industry is hoping for a break in public funding that could save taxpayers billions of dollars. Four bills could be signed into law over the next year that have prevented Medicare from reimbursing doctors’ and medical visits, which often start over the phone.
One issue for public spending on Telehealth has been the inability to charge across state lines. Another is that Medicare does not recognize medical consultations that do not happen in person as the equivalent of a visit to the doctor.
Private insurers who cover the medical expenses of nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults aged 18-64 are attracted to Telehealth by costs that analysts say are at most a third of traditional face-to-face care. They estimate the average cost of a Telehealth call is between $40-$50 compared to around $150 for an urgent care visit, and nearly $1,500 for a trip to the emergency room.
The analysts also estimate that roughly $135 billion of Medicare’s annual $675 billion in spending could be done by Telehealth.