CBO: Growth in long-term care costs to remain steady

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Spending for long-term care services for U.S. seniors is expected to grow at a moderate pace over the next several decades, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

As the baby boom generation becomes seniors, the CBO projects that the population will overall be less impaired than seniors of previous generations. As a result, costs for long-term care will reach approximately $540 billion in 2040 and account for 2.3% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

This compares with long-term care costs totaling $195 billion in 2000 and consuming 2% of the GDP, according to the CBO. It presented its report recently to a Senate subcommittee on health.

However, if future seniors' average impairment does not lessen as the CBO anticipates, spending on long-term care will reach an estimated $760 billion in 2040 and represent about 3.3% of the GDP. If seniors' impairments worsen, the CBO predicts long-term care costs could rise even higher.