South Mississippi seniors discuss future of health care

South Mississippi seniors discuss future of health care
Many seniors say they're concerned about the future of Medicare. (Photo source: WLOX News)

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Right now, less than 20% of Mississippians are over the age of 60. By 2030, that number will climb over 25%.

State and local leaders are now looking at what that means for future health care.

Bea Burton chatted with a few of her closest friends at the Pascagoula Senior Center on Thursday, surrounded by decorations celebrating her recent retirement.

"My coworkers were the best, and I've enjoyed every day of it. Well maybe not every day, but most of them," Burton said with a chuckle.

Now, she's enjoying life more and she's not alone.

"We have a big elderly population in the state of Mississippi, and so the Medicaid ends up paying a lot for that," said State Senator Brice Wiggins.

Mississippi has 750,000 people on Medicaid and that number and costs are growing as more baby boomers become eligible.

"And so we call it the silver tsunami because it's the baby boomer generation and the greatest generation are getting older and requiring the costs of health care and that's driving it up and that's the case in Mississippi," said Wiggins.

Wiggins said Medicaid in Mississippi has a $56 million deficit, and the number one Medicaid cost is long term nursing home care.

Leaders agree that finding solutions now will allow more people like Bea Burton enjoy their retirement years.

"I love to watch 'em line dance, I love to do pottery, and my Bible class is next to my heart," said Burton.

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