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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

EHealth: Many caregivers spend heavily

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EHealth (Nasdaq:EHTH), the parent of the and insurance exchanges, has found that some caregivers spend far more supporting their elderly parents than others.

How much financial support (if any) do you provide for your parents?
Amount per month  
$500 or more 10%
$250 to $499 10%
$100 to $249 11%
$50 to $99 8%
$50 or less 2%
No financial help 59%
Source: EHealth

EHealth analysts polled 285 people who belong to, an online community for caregivers, and are providing care for their parents.

The analysts found that only 41 percent of the survey participants were providing financial help for their parents, and that another 10 percent were providing some financial support but less than $100 per month.

The 31 percent who gave their parents $100 or more on monthly financial support were about equally likely to be spending $100 to $249, $250 to $499, or $500 or more.

When the analysts asked caregivers about how the financial support was being spent, 23 percent said they were helping with medical care, and 44 percent said they were helping with housing costs.

Most of the financial support providers — 92 percent — said they were helping their parents with day-to-day expenses, such as paying for food.

Other survey findings:

- Only 21 percent of the caregivers said they thought they had saved enough for their own retirement, and 14 percent said they had not saved anything for retirement.

- Even though 89 percent of the caregivers said they were providing care for parents who were eligible for Medicare, many had misconceptions about how Medicare works. The analysts found, for example, that 28 percent of the caregivers said they thought Medicare was free.

- About half of the caregivers needed outside assistance when they helped their parents with Medicare. Twelve percent sought help from a licensed agent, and 13 percent turned to a shopping website. Twenty-eight percent of the caregivers sought help from the Medicare program itself, a friend or some other advisor.

- About 89 percent the caregivers surveyed were women; 17 percent of the women said they were also caring for children under the age of 18.

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