The Senior Health Care Crisis is the result of a convergence of exploding senior population, limited incomes, deteriorating health, massive Medicare confusion and health care providers struggling to get paid. And now, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is fanning the flames. ACCESSMed Foundation is working to solve the problem by helping vulnerable seniors understand and enroll in the full range of Medicare, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage benefits that they are entitled to . . . and deserve.
Exploding Senior Population
Pew Research reports that the Baby Boomer generation peaked at 78.8 million during 1999 and, according to AARP, “. . . 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every single day, a trend that is expected to continue into the 2030s.”
The majority of America’s seniors are poor as documented by an April, 2017 Kaiser Family Foundation report titled Income and Assets of Medicare Beneficiaries, 2016-2035. The report indicates that, during 2016, half of all Medicare beneficiaries 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.
As seniors age, their need for affordable healthcare increases:
- 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.
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 (around $12,000 per year for a single person), 38.7% spend over one-fifth of their annual income on premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses.”
The RAND Corporation study Assessing the Care of Vulnerable Elders, conducted in collaboration with Pfizer, Inc., made a comprehensive assessment of healthcare quality provided to the vulnerable elderly. The key finding was that vulnerable elderly receive (only) about half of the care that is recommended for them.
The Corona Virus Pandemic
In Arizona, as well as nationwide, senior citizens with chronic health conditions have been disproportionately and severely impacted by the pandemic. Among their many emotionally stressful concerns is uncertainty about their ability to get medical bills paid. In response, ACCESSMed has increased availability of our Medicare and Medicaid volunteer counselors. We have also implemented Safe Enrollment Services℠ that encompass social distancing and contagion control best practices.
Massive Medicare Confusion
Most seniors find taking advantage of Medicare and Medicaid benefits extremely confusing:
- In October 2018, Weiss Ratings (a consumer research and advisory service) published a report titled Over 50% of Seniors Say the Medicare Process is Confusing.
- A July 2017 article in the Huffington Post observed 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.”
- An American Society on Aging report (2014) indicated that, among the 20 million Medicare beneficiaries with incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, more than half do not receive any financial assistance through Medicaid.
Struggling To Get Paid
Many healthcare providers, who serve under insured and uninsured patients have a critical need to increase and accelerate Medicaid and Medicare Advantage revenue.
- The Health Inc. article Rethinking Rural Health Solutions To Save Patients And Communities (February 2018), reports that, across the U.S., 673 rural hospitals are at risk of closing, with 210 being at extreme risk. In addition, 60 rural hospitals did close between 2010 and February 2016.
- HealthAffairs (May, 2018) reported that, during 2016, safety net hospitals provided $38.3 billion in uncompensated care.
- Data compiled by Bloomberg, Hospital Bankruptcies Leave Sick and Injured Nowhere to go (1/2020) indicates that at least 30 hospitals entered bankruptcy during 2019.
- A December 2019 article in HEALTHCAREDIVE, Disparities between care in rural, urban areas getting worse notes that “It’s common knowledge that Americans living in rural areas have poorer health outcomes than their urban counterparts. But, despite policy efforts to ameliorate disparities, the gap is not getting any better . . .”
- A July 2018 Encounter Telehealth article, Challenges, Risks and Solutions for Critical Access Hospitals, reports that more than 40% of rural hospitals are operating at a loss because they serve populations with high rates of poverty, less health insurance coverage, and longer travel times to access health care.
Responding To The
Senior Health Care Crisis
ACCESSMed Foundation is working to help Arizona’s seniors understand and enroll in the full range of Medicare, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage benefits that they are entitled to . . . and deserve.
Read more about Medicare and Medicaid help.
Read more about increasing Medicaid revenue for physicians.
Read more about Medicare Advantage alternatives.
Leer más en Español.