The baby boomer generation – defined by the Census Bureau as those born between 1946 and 1964 – is going to have a major impact on many aspects of the economy, but the most important will be health care. The oldest boomers are turning 65 this year. This cohort will be demanding better care as they age and long term care is one area of the health care business that is beginning to address this situation.
Years ago LTC policies only provided nursing home care, which meant a total change in lifestyle for the patient and for the family. The patient needed to be moved to a facility (in those days, regulatory agencies were not as proficient as they are now) and it was up to the family to perform "due diligence" to make sure the nursing home adhered to accepted standards of care. We've all heard the stories of the poor treatment and shabby conditions patients sometimes experienced in these facilities. Fortunately, advances in the medical and insurance industries have provided us with some innovative programs that represent better alternatives to the traditional – and problematic – nursing home scenario.
Today's LTC policies provide coverage for assisted living facilities, home health care, adult day care, alternate care and respite care to those looking after infirm individuals. People want to be able to chose where they receive their care and who will be providing that care. The LTC industry is stepping up to offer boomers – who are expected to live longer, healthier lives – the choices they want.