WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15, 2017 A new report finds the availability of health care for U.S. seniors lags behind that of other affluent nations.
Access to insurance isnt an issue, because all Americans 65 and older are covered by Medicare. But Americas seniors are still sicker than the elderly in other countries and are more likely to go without essential care because they cant afford it, according to the Commonwealth Fund study.
Our Medicare is not as generous as comparable insurance in other countries, fund President Dr. David Blumenthal said during a media briefing on Tuesday.
In other countries, government health insurance is not restricted to the elderly, but covers everyone, he said.
The United States is complacent about the value and benefits associated with Medicare, even though its a universal system, Blumenthal said.
We do know that we, as a country, do tolerate higher levels of inequality. Thats most evident in the fact that we underinvest, compared to other countries, in social services and overinvest, despite the lack of generosity of our insurance, in health care, he said.
Providing more social services to the elderly might help reduce the inequality of care, Blumenthal said.
For the study, researchers surveyed older adults about their health care. Participants came from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Almost one-quarter of U.S. seniors didnt go to a doctor in the past year when sick or they didnt get a recommended test or fill a prescription because they couldnt afford it.
In France, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, no more than 5 percent of older adults skipped care because of costs, the researchers found.
In the United States, 22 percent of seniors spent $2,000 or more on out-of-pocket costs during the past year. The only country with higher out-of-pocket costs was Switzerland, with 31 percent spending more than $2,000 out of pocket.
Among all the ot...