As the generation born in the baby boom of the 1940s reach retirement age, more and more will require care while fewer will be working.
With the help of a computer model , researchers created a forecast of Sweden’s future healthcare needs.
By 2040 the number of people over 65 is will have increased from today’s 17 percent to 24 percent.
At the same time, the costs for hospital care are expected to increase by 270 percent.
Dealing with the increase will require higher taxes, unless there are savings made in other parts of the state budget or drastic changes to how healthcare is financed, writes Anders Klevmarken, professor emeritus at Uppsala University, and Björn Lindgren from Lund University, in a debate article published in Dagens Nyheter (DN).
If health improves for everyone over 40, and in particular for the oldest segment of the population, the hospital cost increase may be limited to 65 percent rather than 270 percent.
If at the same time a greater number older people stay in the workforce, it can increase incomes which can contribute to financing healthcare, either through taxes or patient fees, write the researchers.
They conclude by recommending a concerted effort to improve public health and conditions allowing older workers to stay in the job market.