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US ranks at bottom of pack of wealthy nations on health of older adults and affordability of care

Written by Diane Archer

A new Commonwealth Fund survey of older adults 65 and older in 11 countries reveals that, even with Medicare, affordability of care for older Americans is a serious issue.  Older adults in the United States struggle more paying for care and are in poorer health than older adults abroad.  Almost one in five older adults in the U.S. (19%) said that they had not visited the doctor or filled a prescription because of the cost.

The typical person with Medicare spends $4000 each year on out-of-pocket health care costs that Medicare does not pay for.  Older adults in the U.S. also reported a harder time getting primary care and staying out of the emergency room than older adults in every other country except Canada and Sweden.  Of equal concern, older adults in the United States reported the highest levels of chronic conditions, with 87% saying that they had at least one chronic condition and 68% saying they had at least two.

On a more positive note, older adults in the United States were more likely have spoken with a care provider about what they could do to improve their health.  They also were more likely to have a personalized chronic care plan and to have engaged in end-of-life planning.  End-of-life care planning by age 50 is especially important and relatively easy to do.  Since we can’t know what health care needs we will have, if we want our wishes followed, it is critical to have advance directives, such as a health care proxy and living will, as well as a power of attorney.

 

If you like this, you might also be interested in this:
A free resource for getting Advance Directives
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1 Comment

  • What I, and probably many other retied people, need is for the morons at Social (In)Security to give us a higher than 1.9 % annual raise. With that small an annual raise, we cannot survive, and, maybe, that’s the idea. The departments that have been “borrowing” from the Social (In)Security “trust” fund should pay the “loans” back. This would fund Social (In)Security for many years to come, and, maybe, get the “(In)” off the name.

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