Arizona seniors are facing a health care crisis as quality care is difficult to access and increasingly expensive. More than 500,000 seniors need Medicaid help and help with taking advantage of Medicaid alternatives.
The problem for Arizona seniors, as well as for seniors nationwide, is an unprecedented combination of health care challenges including:
- A dramatically increasing senior population,
- Limited income and increasing expenses,
- Deteriorating health, and
- Massive confusion over Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
And now, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is fanning the flames.
Exploding 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.”
The majority of America’s seniors are poor. According to the report Income and Assets of Medicare Beneficiaries, 2016-2035 (by Kaiser Family Foundation), 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.
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.
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.
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.”
- The Urban Institute estimates that only about 66 percent of Medicaid-eligible adults are enrolled in the program.
Medicaid Help For Seniors
If you are an Arizona senior who is not receiving the health care you need and deserve, you can get Medicaid help from the ACCESSMed Foundation. We are a nonprofit community service dedicated to helping Arizona’s financially and health challenged seniors access affordable, quality care.