CONCORD, N.H. – A think tank is predicting a “silver tsunami” in the next decade as baby boomers begin to reach age 65 in large numbers in New Hampshire and shift more health care costs to public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies issued a report Wednesday titled “Coming in 2020: New Hampshire’s ‘Silver Tsunami.”‘ It predicts the age shift will peak in the next decade and by 2030, nearly 500,000 residents — almost one-third of the population — will be over age 65. Currently, nearly 14 percent of state residents are over 65.

“An aging population will require a different mix of social, health, housing and other services than the current population mix now demands. The full impact of this change remains to be seen,” the study concludes.

Steve Norton, the center’s executive director, said the aging population will put financial pressure on the state as more elderly people are enrolled in Medicaid, the state-federal health program for the poor. He said the state is currently focusing on reducing costs by implementing a managed care system for acute care Medicaid recipients but should begin to look long-term at how to deal with the elderly receiving care at home and in nursing homes.

The aging population has the potential “to break the bank for the state budget and its management of the Medicaid program,” he said.

House Speaker William O’Brien said the 2010 Census shows more young people are leaving the state, making it important for the Legislature to enact pro-jobs laws. He said that includes promoting a low-tax, limited-regulation business environment to make the state more competitive.

“While this report assumes that one in three New Hampshire residents will be above the age of 65, we feel by creating a positive business environment it will bring young people to New Hampshire and we have begun that process this term,” said O’Brien.

O’Brien also said the Legislature is looking at a comprehensive managed care program for Medicaid recipients.

Norton said the cost shifts in health care will force health care providers to negotiate higher costs with private insurance companies since Medicare and Medicaid payments do not cover their costs. He said those higher private premium costs will fall on a shrinking population of workers as businesses decide how much they can afford and how much they will pass onto workers.

“There will be more pressure on the private market to pay and at the same time there will be a smaller market (of workers),” said Norton.

The study also said more of residents’ disposable income will be spent on health care services instead of goods as the percentage of the population ages.