Entrepreneurs that own or plan on buying an ambulance business, or who are considering ambulance mergers, should take note of one of the greatest factors that will influence the emergency and non-emergency ambulance transport in coming years – America’s aging population.
The number of retirees and senior citizens is closely approaching 1 in 5 Americans. The Baby Boomer generation began entering retirement age in 2008, and will continue to do so through 2026. By 2030, the number of retirees is estimated to approach 71.5 million Americans, a number that is more than double that of the retiree population in the year 2000.
Population and lengthened life expectancies have resulted in more retirees and retirees that live longer. A 2008 article by USA Today reveals that the aging U.S. population is seeking medical treatment for ailments at an unprecedented rate. Retirees make on average four visits per year to doctors’ offices, emergency rooms and outpatient hospital facilities. When interviewed for the articles, Catharine Burt of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was quoted as saying “Older people represent a larger proportion of the hospital inpatient case load. They have more complications and have to have more done for them.”
Statistics related to retiree medical care and the trends related to the growing aged population are revealing when considering their potential impact on the ambulance transport business. CDC statistics reveal that nearly 50% of all medical appointments made by retirees and the elderly were for chronic medical conditions. Hospital inpatients aged 75 and older increased from 9% in 1970 to 24% in 2006. Inpatients 65 and older increased from 20% in 1970 to 38% in 2006.
Ambulance business owners, or those considering an ambulance business valuation, should review the above information and consider its impact on future ambulance transport business. An aging American population that seeks frequent medical care, that has chronic medical conditions, and that is living longer and seeking out more frequent medical care will most certainly translate into more frequent transports.
Elderly patients and retirees seeking treatment for hip fractures, dialysis, end-stage illnesses, who are fragile or frail will require non-emergency ambulance transport for doctors’ visits and treatments at nearby medical facilities. Present medical technology is increasing the duration of illnesses, and lengthening life expectancies. As a direct result of these medical advances, ambulance businesses will transport more patients more often.
With retiree and elderly population doubling from 2000 to 2030, ambulance transport business volume may be poised to increase at nearly the same rate as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age. All signs point to increased valuation and business potential for current and future ambulance business owners.