With 10,000 people turning 65 each day in the U.S., Americans 65 and older now own more than 27% of all US wealth. No wonder elderly are a prime target for fraudsters and scammers. University of Michigan expert grades that “about 20% to 25% have mild cognitive impairment, while about 10% have dementia.” For these seniors – nearly 20 million – the job of paying bills accurately and on time can be stressful and difficult to get right. Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, managed care organizations, long-term care insurers, Medicaid home and community providers, and others with a financial interest in keeping seniors independent can benefit from helping seniors with their financial tasks .
Effective personal financial management is necessary to preserve assets and maintain independence. This is becoming increasingly important as healthcare costs continue to rise. Even with Medicare, 20% of seniors pay more than $2,000 a year out of pocket health care costs. As the nation’s elderly population continues to grow, those who care for the elderly can combat fraud and cognitive impairment by investing in financial management services that extend seniors’ independence by reliably paying their bills.
Studies show that financial management services can also reduce health-related costs. In just one example, Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and Longevity analyzes the value and costs of daily money management (DMM) programs. The study found that DMM programs are cost-effective in prolonging independent living and preventing expensive alternatives to care, such as nursing home placement. DMM/case management programs save approximately $60,000 per individual compared to nursing home placement over the lifetime of a Medicare beneficiary. This is because people with DMM services stay in their homes and communities longer and maintain a higher quality of life.
Approximately 80% of people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias receive care in their homes from family members or family friends. in 2020, the financial management service, SilverBills, has been selected to partner with AARP to conduct research studies that examine the mindsets of senior caregivers regarding financial management. Caregivers often experience extreme stress related to managing their loved ones’ lives – 40-70% suffer from caregiver stress syndrome, according to one source. Caregiver stress syndrome is a condition characterized by physical, mental and emotional exhaustion and has a significant impact on the lives of those caring for their loved ones. This can affect not only the long-term health and well-being of the caregiver, but also the health and well-being of the patient. Financial management services can help address caregivers’ frustration with the overwhelming needs of their loved ones by providing an overlooked but necessary benefit to patients.
Helping seniors with their personal finances by paying their bills according to their wishes is a relatively new service. Evidence shows that these financial management services directly improve the health and well-being of older adults and their caregivers. Some financial management services companies have won the patronage of local authorities and prestigious funding organisations, including National Institutes of Health and AARP. It’s time for health plans, especially MA plans, to take notice too.
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