In this 3-Part series, Shane Hull, Director of our Pasadena California Home Care branch, compares senior health care in America to other countries around the world.

Older Americans still struggle to pay for health care.

Last week I introduced the recent study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, which compared the condition of senior health care for Americans with that of seniors in 10 other countries. The first finding was that US older adults were sicker than those abroad. This week we will look at the second main finding of the senior health care study: Older Americans still struggle to pay for health care.

The survey found that 19 percent of senior Americans surveyed 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. Only one other surveyed nation (New Zealand, at 10 percent) reached 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,” said Robin Osborn, director of the fund’s International Health Policy and Practice Innovations program and lead author of the study. “Its deductibles and cost-sharing requirements still leave many Americans scrambling to afford drugs and doctors – which also cost more here.”

“The other countries in the survey represent a variety of health care approaches, including single-payer national systems and subsidized private insurance coverage,” said Paula Span, a renowned NY Times writer on aging and health care. “Their structures involve many different benefits, thresholds and exemptions.”

Span explains, “What they share (aside from doing a better job for their elders than the United States, at lower cost) is that their systems cover all ages. Their elders are less likely to arrive at 65 trying to catch up after years without adequate medical care.”

At Select Home Care Pasadena, we want to help our seniors live a healthy, long life in the comfort of their own home. Our staff and care givers want to help seniors overcome the challenges of more chronic illnesses, access to health care and the rising costs of health care. We want elder care in Pasadena, CA, to be easier for families. Please contact us to discuss home health care concerns you have for your senior loved one. Call us at 626-799-4855 or toll free at 888-990-7353.