11-Nation Survey: Older Adults in U.S. Sickest, Most Likely to Have Problems Paying for Care

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Compared with their counterparts in other developed countries, older adults in the United States are sicker, see more doctors, take more prescription drugs, and have a harder time affording the care they need, according to a new Commonwealth Fund survey of people age 65 and up.<br /><br />
The results, published today by <em>Health Affairs,</em> show 87 percent of older men and women in the U.S. have at least one chronic illness and 68 percent have two or more—the highest rates among the 11 countries surveyed, which also include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. U.S. respondents also were the most likely to report taking four or more medications and second-most likely to say they saw four or more doctors in the past year.<br />
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The researchers, led by The Commonwealth Fund’s Robin Osborn, note that previous surveys have found Medicare beneficiaries tend to fare better than Americans with other insurance coverage. But in the new survey, U.S. respondents stand out for having the most trouble paying medical bills and for skipping needed care because of the cost, they say.<br />
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There were some bright spots for the U.S., however, including aspects of chronic disease management, patient–doctor communication, specialty care access, and end-of-life planning.<br />
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http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/newsletters/ealerts/2014/nov/older-adults-in-us-sickest Read the study