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(51,907 posts)
Sun Dec 14, 2014, 12:25 AM Dec 2014

U.S. Health Care Lags Worldwide for Those Over 65


“It’s definitely a better picture than when we look at the U.S. population generally; that’s a pat on the back for Medicare,” said Robin Osborn, director of the fund’s International Health Policy and Practice Innovations program and lead author of the study. Previous research has shown that “Medicare is more protective than all the different insurance plans people have under age 65,” she said.

The bad news first:

■ Our older population is sicker. We lead the list in the proportion of people over 65 who have two or more chronic diseases (68 percent report hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.) and who take four or more prescription drugs (53 percent). Only a third of seniors in the United Kingdom have multiple chronic conditions. (The survey didn’t include residents of nursing homes or other care facilities.)

“One thing we know contributes to this is not having an ongoing, stable source of health insurance throughout your life,” Ms. Osborn said. Before they became Medicare-eligible, American seniors may have forgone preventive treatments or let conditions worsen because they couldn’t afford care.

■ Older Americans still struggle to pay for health care. Nineteen percent said that in the past year, cost was a barrier that prevented their seeing a doctor, undergoing a recommended test or treatment or filling a prescription. In only one other surveyed nation (New Zealand, at 10 percent) did that proportion reach double digits.

Among American seniors, 21 percent had out-of-pocket medical expenses that topped $2,000 and 11 percent had problems paying their medical bills. In Norway and Sweden, 1 percent had problems paying; in Germany, 3 percent.

“As good as Medicare is – it provides excellent coverage over all – it still isn’t as protective as the coverage people get in other countries,” Ms. Osborn said. Its deductibles and cost-sharing requirements still leave many Americans scrambling to afford drugs and doctors – which also cost more here.

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(27,630 posts)
3. Oh f@ck, seniors are a gold mine waiting to be exploited!
Sun Dec 14, 2014, 01:01 AM
Dec 2014

I feel bad for the insurance companies missing out on their money!


(28,255 posts)
4. The insurance companies are making plenty off seniors
Sun Dec 14, 2014, 01:33 AM
Dec 2014

With the Medicare Advantage and medigap policies they sell

Medicare is better than nothing but a real single payer system would not require private insurance to make sure a person has adequate coverage.



(54,770 posts)
5. Unfortunately, Medicare has big coverage gaps that force one into Advantage plans or
Sun Dec 14, 2014, 01:48 AM
Dec 2014

buying even more expensive supplemental policies.. The insurance companies are at least providing an option the government doesn't unless you are so destitute that Medicaid is the only option.


(28,255 posts)
6. Depending on what state you could have better healthcare if you're old and broke
Sun Dec 14, 2014, 10:42 PM
Dec 2014

My mom was in that situation. Medicare was her primary insurer (and her income was low enough that she didn't have to pay the premium for part B) and she also qualified for Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO) a state program that provides absolutely fantastic coverage and, from what I recall, must be accepted by most doctors in the state as she never had issues with that. It even covered hearing aids for her which is something neither Medicare or private insurance cover.



(54,770 posts)
8. That would be wonderful, but don't think it's widespread. But
Sun Dec 14, 2014, 11:39 PM
Dec 2014

when it comes down to it, glad to have Medicare and some options for the gaps.

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