Aging populations present major challenges to health care systems around the world. The 2021 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey, conducted among adults age 65 and older between March and June 2021, provides insights about how well U.S. seniors fare relative to older adults in 10 other high-income countries. (See “About This Survey” below.)
The findings present a mixed picture of U.S. health system performance as the COVID-19 pandemic continues:
- U.S. seniors are more likely than their counterparts in other wealthy countries to experience economic hardship as a result of the pandemic, with Latino/Hispanic and Black seniors most affected. Nearly four in 10 older Latino/Hispanic adults and one in three older Black adults said they used up their savings or lost a job or source of income because of COVID-19, compared to 14 percent of older white adults.
- Despite the near-universal coverage Medicare provides, U.S. older adults have comparatively high out-of-pocket health expenses and are much more likely to forgo care because of cost than are their counterparts in the other survey countries.