Study: American Seniors Face Health Care Gaps, Despite Medicare
A new study by the Commonwealth Fund published recently in Health Affairs finds that Americans older than 65 are more likely to have chronic illnesses and to struggle to afford health care – despite qualifying for the federal Medicare program – t
November 25, 2014 09:17 AM
A new study by the Commonwealth Fund that appears in the most recent edition of Health Affairs found that American seniors are more likely to have chronic illnesses and to have difficulty affording their healthcare despite receiving Medicare benefits.
On average, beneficiaries with traditional Medicare will end up spending more than $4,000 per year on out-of-pocket health costs, according to the study’s authors. That constitutes a level of cost-sharing much higher than that seen in comparable nations.
According to a Kaiser Health News reporton the study, the research found that:
87 percent of U.S. respondents 65 or older indicated having one chronic condition and 68 percent had two or more. Canada was the next highest, with 83 percent having one disease and 56 percent having two or more.
19 percent of United States respondents reported cost as an obstacle in getting care last year. The next highest rate was in New Zealand, with 10 percent.
55 percent said it “somewhat or very easy” to get care after hours, a figure that was higher in all countries but Sweden, Canada and Australia.
American respondents were among the most likely to have discussed with a physician healthy lifestyles and end-of-life planning.
While each nation’s health system had strengths, the survey highlighted room for improvement across the board. The study, which comes in the midst of Medicare’s open enrollment season, may provide beneficiaries with key factors to consider as they review their coverage choices.
The findings, which are based on phone surveys conducted in 11 industrialized countries, highlight gaps in Medicare coverage that should be addressed, said Donald Moulds, one of the study’s authors and executive vice president for programs at the Commonwealth Fund.