Medicare Is Just Not Enough
Most seniors (age 65+) receive Medicare help from the federal government. The good news is that this help pays for the majority (but not all) of most medical bills. Unfortunately, the not so good news is that Medicare benefits typically do not cover about 20%. As seniors face increasingly greater health challenges, that uncovered 20% can be thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Medicare coverage is frequently just not enough because 1) The senior population is exploding, 2) Most seniors live on a limited income, 3) Most seniors suffer from chronic health conditions, and 4) Getting Medicare help is very confusing . . .
The Senior Population
According to AARP “. . . 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every single day, a trend that is expected to continue into the 2030s.”
Most Seniors Live On
A Limited Income
The majority of America’s seniors are income challenged. According to the report Income and Assets of Medicare Beneficiaries, 2016-2035 (by Kaiser Family Foundation), during 2016 half of all Medicare recipients had an annual income of less than $26,200 and one-quarter had annual incomes below $15,250 and savings of less than $14,550.
CMS.gov, the Federal Medicare website, reports that there is a strong relationship between poverty and the health of older adults. “Among Medicare beneficiaries with incomes below the federal poverty level (a little more than $12,000 per year for a single person), 38.7% spend over one-fifth of their annual income on medical expenses.”
The RAND Corporation study Assessing the Care of Vulnerable Elders made a comprehensive assessment of healthcare quality that is provided to the vulnerable elderly. The key finding was that vulnerable elderly receive (only) about half of the care that health care providers recommend for them.
Most Seniors Suffer From
Chronic Health Conditions
As seniors age, their health naturally deteriorates:
- The National Council on Aging reports that approximately 80% of older adults have at least one chronic disease and 68% have at least two.
- The American Diabetes Association reports that diabetes affects 14.3 million Americans aged 65+, or 26.8% of the older population.
- The Journals of Gerontology reports that the high prevalence of hypertension in older persons (nearly one of two subjects aged 60 years and older) plays an important role in the development of cerebrovascular disease, congestive heart failure, and coronary heart disease.
Medicare And Medicaid Are Confusing
Most seniors find taking advantage of Medicare and Medicaid entitlements very confusing:
- A July 2017 article in the Huffington Post noted that “Medicaid is the nation’s single largest insurance provider, yet millions of Americans are seemingly unaware of what it does and who it serves.”
Getting Medicare And AHCCCS
Medicaid Information is Difficult
Seniors who are comfortable with computers and have internet service can research Medicare and AHCCCS Medicaid options. However, many lack computer skills and many cannot afford a computer, smartphone or broadband service. Lacking digital communications, many elders are unaware of their frequently changing health care and health insurance options.
Do You Need Help?
The Urban Institute estimates that only about 66 percent of Medicaid-eligible adults are enrolled in the program.
If you are an Arizona senior who is not receiving the health care you need and deserve, you can get Medicare, AHCCCS Medicaid and Medicare Advantage counseling and enrollment support from ACCESSMed Foundation. ACCESSMed is a nonprofit community service dedicated to helping Arizona’s financially and health challenged seniors access affordable, quality health care.
To get help, click on the GET HELP link at the bottom of this page.