Living longer may not be as costly as we thought

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 14, 2003

Two worries that people have about aging are whether medical costs will rise, and whether there will be enough money to pay for needed drugs and treatments. This has been a valid concern for many Americans, particularly the elderly and infirm. Yet a new study from the National Center for Health Statistics allays some of those fears with the finding that one’s longevity doesn’t cost the health system more.

The agency found that medical expenses from age 70 until death averaged $140,700, with little difference between active, long-lived senior citizens and disabled ones – except for those already in a nursing home.

This could for good news even for people such as Mrs. Lucy Wells of Suffolk, who alertly celebrated her 100th birthday on Saturday. She’s hoping to make it to 105, by the way. As we understand the report, whether Mrs. Wells lives five more years or not won’t cost her anymore than it’s costing her now.

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However, the International Longevity Center – USA, sees that Medicare costs will still go up some simply because of the increasing number of beneficiaries.

Nonetheless, this does not excuse any of us from taking care of our health. Quit the smokes, cut back on the drink and fatty foods, reduce portions, and increase exercise. These factors will contribute not merely to more years, but a better quality.

Which is more important to you?