Price of Stroke to Double In Next Two Decades

The rising prevalence of stroke in an aging population is likely to more than double the cost of stroke care over the next two decades, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association warned.

Annual stroke-related medical costs are projected to jump from $71.6 billion in 2012 to $183.1 billion in 2030, according to a statement from the organizations in the August issue of Stroke.

Total annual costs, including the price of lost productivity, were estimated to rise 129% to $240.67 billion by 2030, Bruce Ovbiagele, MD, MSc, of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues reported in the statement.

Now I am NOT advocating having one now, while they are cheaper, but how many are financially prepared for not only the medical costs, but also the long term care costs of a stroke?

Prevention can help, but with more baby boomers passing 65 and 70, plus rising rates of stroke per capita, the problem is expected to increase by 21% by 2030.  Stroke related care is already 11% of the Medicare budget and that does not include the years that may be spent in an LTC facility.  Annual indirect costs for stroke were estimated to shoot up 68%, from $33.65 billion in 2012 to $56.54 billion in 2030.

While arthritis is the number one cause of home care usage, and Alzheimer’s is the number one cause of facility care, stroke care can often last for many years as well.  Medicare rehabilitation care only lasts a short time.  Following a three day hospitalization Medicare may pay for continued recovery care in a nursing home for up to 100 days (partial assistance after 20 days).  However, care must be for someone making progress as defined by Medicare and often that stops after a week or two at most.

Once you are not making progress your care is no longer health care, covered by Medicare or other health insurance, but long term care.  LTC is covered by your savings or LTC insurance.  If you wait until retirement age to investigate this insurance, you may find it is too late to qualify for it.  Just like health insurance, there is medical underwriting.  If your health history indicates the possibility of something that could in the future cause a need for LTC, or a cognitive impairment, you cannot purchase it.

I am often asked what the “proper” age is to buy LTC insurance.  It is not a chronological age, but when you have the financial ability and are still healthy enough to be able to purchase it.  For many, that is in the 50’s.

Perhaps it might be time for you to investigate LTC insurance for yourself.  Please do so with someone qualified to help you choose appropriate benefits.  Many financial planners refer their clients to me for that advice.  I can be reached at 920 884-3030 or at [email protected] to arrange a meeting.

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