Many of the U.S.' 77 million baby boomers are concerned about mounting medical costs, according to a recent Associated Press/LifeGoesStrong poll, the AP/Washington Post reports. In addition, the poll found that many baby boomers are not prepared for future medical decisions or for long-term care costs.
The poll involved online interviews of 1,416 U.S. adults, including 1,078 baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 (AP/Washington Post, 7/28).
According to the poll, 43% of baby boomers polled said they were "very" or "extremely" worried about being able to pay for their medical costs, including long-term care. The second major concern was losing financial independence, with 41% of baby boomers listing it as their primary concern (Kerr, AP/Boston Globe, 7/29).
The survey also found that just 34% of baby boomers have health care proxies or living wills. Proxies give medical power of attorney to another individual, who can make health care decisions for a person unable to do so, while living wills allow people to lay out their wishes for medical treatment.
Context of Poll
The poll comes as a struggling economy, longer life expectancies, growing health care costs and challenges to popular entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are putting added financial pressure on baby boomers, the oldest of whom are slated to turn 65 this year, according to the AP/Post.
According to a separate study by Fidelity Investments, baby boomers who are 65 years old and plan to retire this year with Medicare coverage will need $230,000 on average to cover medical expenses in retirement.
That figure does not include long-term care coverage that can cost from $1,000 to $8,000 annually. Among the baby boomers surveyed, 83% said they did not have long-term care coverage (AP/Washington Post, 7/28).