New International Survey: U.S. Seniors Struggle More to Pay for Health Care and Other Basic Needs

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<p>Despite having nearly universal health coverage through Medicare, adults 65 and older in the United States are sicker than their counterparts in 10 other high-income countries and more likely to go without needed care because of costs, according to the Commonwealth Fund’s 20th International Health Policy Survey, out today in <em>Health Affairs</em>. </p><p>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 United Kingdom, no more than 5 percent of seniors skipped needed care because of costs. The other countries surveyed were Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland. </p>
<p>Seniors with high health care needs in the U.S. were the most likely to struggle to make ends meet, with nearly one-third worried about having enough money to afford healthy meals, rent, or utilities. High-need seniors in other nations struggled as well, with a quarter of those in Australia and Germany also concerned about paying for food, rent, or other bills.</p>
<p>Even with Medicare coverage, U.S. seniors are “in effect, hit with a triple whammy,” says Commonwealth Fund vice president and lead author Robin Osborn, citing the combination of high health care costs, substantial economic challenges, and limited social supports. </p> Read more