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Health care costs Here’s what the U.S. could learn from Singapore’s plan for aging workers

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Thomas Maresca, Special for USA TODAY

Published 7:08 a.m. ET April 5, 2017 | Updated 3 hours ago

SINGAPORE — At Chatters, a small café in the lobby of a hospital, the staff frothing cappuccinos and managing the register 

aren’t your typical young baristas.  That’s because every employee must be at least 55.

“It keeps my mind moving,” said Sally Chung, 72, a retired accountant, who manages the café and does the books.

The

café’s age requirement reflects a

demographic trend this city-state of 5.6 million people is trying to confront: 

the population is getting old — fast.

In 2015, one in eight Singaporeans were over 65. By 2030, that number is projected to double to one in four. The coming “silver tsunami” will make Singapore’s population one of the oldest in the world. The country already has one of the world’s longest life expectancies at 83 years old.

Singapore is trying to tackle the problem of skyrocketing healthcare costs, a declining birth rate and fewer younger workers with a comprehensive plan that may provide ideas for countries like the United States that face their own graying futures. The percentage of Americans over 65 is projected to rise from 15% of the population to 24% by 2060. That’s 98 million people who will be draining ever more government health and retirement benefits that a smaller percentage of workers may be forced to shoulder.

While there are longtime programs such as Senior Community Service Employment Program in place, the U.S. doesn’t have…

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