One of the consequences of an aging population is that there will be increased pressure on an already overloaded public health system. Advances in technology will add to the pressure as new but often more costly procedures become available. Health care costs are 10 times higher in old age than in mid-life. By 2050, 1 in 4 people will be aged over 65, compared to 1 in 8 now. Not only will the total spend on health increase dramatically but there will be fewer taxpayers to fund it!
Possible outcomes over the next twenty years could include:
- Longer hospital waiting lists
- Reduced Government spending on other important areas such as education and social welfare to help fund health care
- Access to medical treatment based on ability to pay
- Increased reliance on private health care
- Unaffordable health insurance premiums
Research shows that good health is one of the main determinants of happiness. Planning for a happy retirement means planning for a healthy retirement. Strategies you can use to plan for good health include:
- Maintaining healthy practices throughout your life with regard to fitness, diet and health checks
- Staying active and working beyond the age of 65 (good for your finances as well as your health!)
- Setting aside a separate fund of money to be used either to cover the costs of private health care or to pay the premiums for health insurance
- Reducing the cost of health insurance by increasing your excess and setting aside funds to cover the excess.
There is no question that paying for health care is a major retirement issue now and it will become critical. As medical technology advances, you will want nothing but the best available treatment. Make sure you can afford it by planning ahead.