Silver Tsunami? A Quaint Understatement

Unlike a tidal wave, a tsunami, also known as a seismic sea wave, is characterized by a series of waves, sometimes caused by an earthquake hundreds of miles from shore. We’ve heard about the silver tsunami for years in respect to the number of baby boomers entering retirement and subsequently qualifying for Medicare. Tsunamis take folks on-shore by surprise, there really should be no surprise in the healthcare industry regarding whats happening in respect to the demand for home health and hospice services.

According to Holly (2018, September 26), “Another 1.2 million baby boomers became Medicare beneficiaries between the first quarter of last year and the close of Q1 of 2018. With the overall system, there are currently about 58 million beneficiaries, looking at both the Medicare Advantage (MA) program and traditional fee-for-service Medicare. As has widely been reported, the share of beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage plans is growing fast. About 35% of Medicare beneficiaries are currently enrolled in MA plans, but that’s projected to check in closer to 40% or higher in the not-too-distant future. More than one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries live in one of five states: California, Florida, Texas, New York or Pennsylvania. Within the next 15 years, the number of beneficiaries is expected to reach 80 million.”

Now that CMS is allowing Medicare Advantage plans to offer supplemental benefits that include the type of in-home custodial and non-emergent medical transportation support that the traditional Medicare home health benefit doesn’t allow, demand for these services will serve to reshape home health delivery models.