Members of the "Sandwich Generation"—or adults who have at least one parent over age 65 and at least one child who still requires financial support—often find themselves torn between their dual caregiving responsibilities.1 Being in the Sandwich Generation can also be expensive; not only are you supporting your child, saving for retirement, and paying down debt, but you may also be incurring costs in caring for a parent. Fortunately, there are some options available. Below, we'll discuss some considerations for members of the Sandwich Generation when it comes to paying for and managing healthcare.
Mitigating Healthcare Costs
In most cases, those who are age 65 and older have access to Medicare Parts A and B, which provide coverage for hospitalization, doctor's visits, and other healthcare services.1 If your parent has not already signed up for Medicare, it's worth investigating this coverage. Although Medicare isn't free, it might be cheaper than comparable private healthcare policies.2 Knowing that your parent has access to healthcare whenever they may need it can provide some peace of mind if you're worried about their health or ability to live independently.
And for those with adult dependent children, the decision when to boot them from your healthcare plan can be a complex one. In some cases, leaving your adult child on your healthcare plan won't cost you any extra—for example, if your policy provider charges the same family rate whether you're a family of 2 or a family of 10, it's unlikely that your child will save much money by getting their own plan. Some healthcare plans don't have a per-person cost, but just two broad categories: "single" and "family" (or three categories: single, family, and single + 1).3
If your child is requiring you to purchase more health insurance than you need, you may want to help them investigate the cost of buying their own health insurance plan on your state's exchange. Even if your child isn't earning a steady income, they may be eligible for subsidies that can significantly decrease the cost of insurance, while also decreasing the mental and financial burden on you.2
Don't Forget About Self-Care
Juggling your parent's needs with your children's needs, a full-time job, and the other stressors that can come with middle age can leave you without much time or energy to do the activities you enjoy. During this period of life, self-care takes on a new importance. If you are feeling stressed, tired, or not like yourself, talk to your doctor to see whether they have any recommendations on managing your tension. Some other self-care activities that can be helpful include:
- Scheduling blocks of time off when you're not "on call" for your parent or child. Knowing you have uninterrupted time to look forward to can help you manage the stress of being pulled in several directions at once.
- Talking to a therapist. If your workplace offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), you may have access to a handful of free visits, allowing you to "test drive" a therapist to see whether he or she is a good fit.
- Maintaining good communication with your parents, children, and any others—and not being afraid to ask for help when you need it.
By taking care of yourself, you will be in a better position to take care of your parents, children, and any others in your life who may require a helping hand.
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.