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Health Care for American Seniors Lags Behind Other Countries

According to a recent Commonwealth Fund study, health care for American seniors still lags behind the senior health care that is available in other industrialized countries. Participants in this study included seniors from the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Although all Americans who are 65 and older are covered by Medicare, American seniors still tend to be sicker and go without essential care more frequently than seniors in other countries. In fact, almost one-quarter of American seniors did not go to a doctor when they were sick, fill a prescription, or get a recommended test, simply because they can’t afford it. In the United Kingdom, Sweden, France, and Norway, only five percent of seniors failed to get essential healthcare due to costs.

The study results indicated that there are several reasons why this might be the case. First, Medicare does not cover as much as insurance options in other countries. For example, Medicare without any sort of supplement does not pay for prescription drugs. In other countries, however, government-sponsored insurance is available for not just seniors, but for everyone. As compared to other countries, the amount that the United States invests in social services programs is much lower than in other countries. On the other hand, America tends to overinvest in health care, despite the limited nature of Medicare benefits.

The fact is that American seniors spend more on out-of-pocket medical expenses than seniors in other countries, due to the fact that Medicare coverage is not as generous as government health care in other countries. In America, 22% of seniors paid more than $2,000 in out-of-pocket medical costs, as compared with less than 10% of seniors in the other countries surveyed, with the exception of Switzerland, where 31% of seniors had more than $2,000 in medical bills to pay.

The failure of America to sufficiently invest in social services programs also resulted in worse financial conditions for seniors, as compared to those in other countries. While 25% of American seniors said that they worried about having enough money to pay for essential needs, such as food, rent, electricity, heat, and medical care, only 10% of seniors in New Zealand, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom had similar concerns.

Even when seniors receive adequate health care, they still may encounter other problems while in long term care facilities. The nursing home abuse lawyers of Boller & Vaughan pride themselves on advocating on behalf of clients who suffer injuries at the hands of their caregivers, no matter whether those injuries from result from abuse or neglect in a nursing home or in any type of long-term care facility. We can seek compensation for you through the legal system, while you and your family can concentrate on healing, recovering from any trauma that you might have experienced, and moving on with your life. Don’t hesitate to contact our office today and learn how we can help.