Baby Boomers lack of exercise will burden the healthcare system

September 7, 2011 | no comments

Boomers, defined as born between 1946-1964, are more obese than previous generations a new poll finds.  Approximately a third of baby boomers polled are obese while an additional 36% are overweight though not obese.  Most adults are required to obtain at least 2 1/2 hours a week of moderate aerobic activity yet only about 1 out of 4 baby boomers attain that desired level of activity.  As the 77 million baby boomers begin turning 65, the obese boomers with their extra risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis, will only escalate the Medicare costs for an already stretched and burdened healthcare system.  Current obese boomers will set themselves up for some unhealthy senior years.   Medicare pays 34 percent more now for an obese senior than one whose weight is at the norm.  For boomers who are not obese but need to do more to stay fit, the website, is a good source of information for aging boomers.

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Medicare costs for hospice are soaring

September 6, 2011 | no comments

According to Medicare records, spending on hospice care increased 70% to $4.31 billion from 2005 to 2009.  Costs have multiplied because “for-profit organizations” have selected patients who live the longest and require the least amount of care such as the ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia, rather than the ones with cancer.  The Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC), stated that the amount of Alzheimer’s and dementia hospice cases grew to 174,000 from 28,000 in the years from 1998 to 2008.  Critics contend that certain hospices appear to be seeking out patients that have these particular devastating and progressive neurological diseases that are often found in nursing facilities.  Medicare pays a a $143 daily flat rate for hospice patients, but they must be expected to live less than six months.  MedPAC has found that 44% of patients transferred back to more traditional care from hospices surpassed the six-month spending cap.  The 2011 MedPAC report to Congress infers that “above-cap hospices may be admitting patients before they meet the hospice-eligibility criteria.”   The administration arm for Medicare, The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is considering reducing payments for hospice care in nursing facilities.

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