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Baby Boomers and the Elder Orphans That They Become

Baby Boomers and the Elder Orphans That They Become

The Aging Population

The population of America is aging.  We’re getting older.  That may seem self-evident but the problem is, it’s not just us.  Rather, the proportion of older people within our society is increasing and the ratio of young to old is shrinking.  In 2012, there were 43 million people aged 65 or over in the US, compared to just 35 million only ten years earlier, in 2002[1].  It is estimated that by 2029, 20% of the US population will be 65 years old or over, and that by 2056, the population of over-65s will bigger than that of the population of under 18s[2].  This, in part, is due to the so-called baby boom generation – those born in the fertile post-war years between 1946 and 1964.  The oldest of this group turned 65 back in 2011 and the youngest will probably need health care right through to 2060.  Many chose to remain child-free, which in itself isn’t a problem, but as the population continues to age, so difficulties begin to show. 

The Baby-Boomers and What They Become

The baby-boomers are now facing a new, and perhaps less spritely name: the elder orphans.  The term, coined recently, refers to older people who need care yet have no relatives either at all or living nearby.  Dr. Maria Torroella Carny, the chief of geriatric and palliative medicine at North Shore Health System, released a paper last week discussing just that issue.  These elderly people, who are often divorced or widowed and have no children, have no support system and are effectively ‘orphaned’ during a particularly vulnerable time in their lives.  She uses case studies to demonstrate just how serious this can be and how devastating the potential consequences are[3]

The Affordable Care Act - Provisions that benefit the seniors in your family

The Affordable Care Act - Provisions that benefit the seniors in your family

Overview – the expansion of the safety net

Since their inception, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security provided the vital safety net that protected the poor and the middle classes in America. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was thus intended to bridge the gaps in the protections that these programs provided. Come January 1, 2014, the ACA will impact over 100 million Americans with savings and peace of mind. 

More specifically, The ACA was meant to drastically reduce the number of uninsured Americans, to improve and render more comprehensive the coverage of insured Americans, and to address the crisis of rapidly increasing national healthcare costs.

The full name of this landmark legislation is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, mostly referred to simply as the Affordable Care Act. It was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. Pursuant to subsequent legal challenges, the Supreme Court rendered a final decision on June 28, 2012, to uphold the health care law. The law was promptly proclaimed as the most significant healthcare legislation enacted since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid forty-five years earlier. It puts in place major health insurance reforms that will keep rolling out over the entire decade, starting in 2010.