CBO: Senior Long Term Services Market Tops $426 Billion, And Counting

The market value for long term care on an institutional basis reached $138 billion in 2011 with informal care counting an additional $234 billion during the same time, according to a Congressional Budget Office report released this week. 

Community-based care counted $58 billion in market value in comparison. 

The total market for long term services and supports reached $426 billion in sum. 

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All forms of long term services and supports for older Americans are expected to rise in demand in the coming years, CBO finds, in making projections spanning through 2050. 

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“By 2050, one-fifth of the total U.S. population will be elderly (that is, 65 or older), up from 12 percent in 2000 and 8 percent in 1950,” CBO writes. “The number of people age 85 or older will grow the fastest over the next few decades, constituting 4 percent of the population by 2050, or 10 times its share in 1950.”

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The growth in the population due to the post-World War II baby boom will bring a corresponding surge in the number of elderly people with functional and cognitive impairments, CBO notes, which will place further pressure on long term care options in place today. 

The high cost of care is in large part the key factor leading to the strong majority of those who receive informal care; in some cases the care costs can be “catastrophic,” CBO writes. 

“The cost of institutional care can have a catastrophic impact on an elderly person’s finances,” the report states. “In 2011, the annual cost of care for a resident paying either out of pocket or with private insurance in a semiprivate room in a nursing home averaged nearly $80,000.”

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Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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