11-Country Survey Finds U.S. Seniors in Worse Shape

Despite having nearly universal health coverage through Medicare, adults 65 and older in the United States are sicker than those in other countries and are more likely to go without needed care because of costs, according to the Commonwealth Fund’s 20th International Health Policy Survey.   The survey compared the health care experiences of older adults, including those with the highest medical needs, in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. It found that in the last year, 23 percent of U.S. seniors, citing costs, didn’t go to the doctor when they were sick, didn’t fill a prescription or skipped a dose, or didn’t get a recommended test or medical treatment. In France, Norway, Sweden, and the U.K., no more than 5 percent of seniors skipped needed care because of costs.  “Because all U.S. adults 65 and over qualify for Medicare, they are the only group in our nation that has universal health insurance coverage,” said Robin Osborn, lead author of the study. Osborn also is vice president and director of the International Program in Health Policy and Practice Innovations at The Commonwealth Fund. “Yet U.S. seniors face more financial barriers to care than those in other countries, and are, in effect, hit with a triple whammy -- higher health care costs, higher out-of-pocket costs, and because the U.S. doesn’t invest heavily in social services, they are more likely to struggle to have their basic needs met. If we want to better protect our seniors, we need to both address shortfalls in Medicare and invest more in social services.”&nb [...]

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11/24/17 10:03 AM

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