• Seniors Struggle with Health Care Costs

    by  • May 13, 2013 • Featured, News • 1 Comment

    By THOMAS DAVIS

    With the economy rising and dropping constantly, people are finding it difficult to keep their bills paid and health intact. Doctor visits alone can burn a whole in your pocket. Medicare is an outpatient and hospital medical plan for people who are older than 65. These people are mostly eligible if they or their spouse was employed.

    “When my husband passed [twenty five years ago] I was able to use his veteran check to pay my doctor bills and to make sure I was covered if there was ever an emergency” Said Gloria Jeckert, 81, Paramus Resident. “Today, I am finding it terribly hard to make ends meet, which is why I was forced to move in with my daughters family, something I never thought I would have to do”

    Elders are personally effected by their health care costs, whether it is positive or negative, medicare is something to keep an eye on.

    With the economy rising and dropping constantly, seniors are finding it difficult to keep their bills paid and health intact. Medicare is an outpatient and hospital medical plan for people older than 65.

    VIDEO: Interview with Gloria Jeckert

    According to http://medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/index.html “Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).”

    There are four different plans to Medicare beneficiaries:
    Medicare Part A which is Hospital insurance such as nursing facilities and some emergency visits.
    Part B is Medical Insurance that covers certain doctor visits and medical supplies.
    Part C covers Medicare Advantage Plans which is offered through private company and contracts with Medicare to provide you with Part A and B benefits.
    Part D is a plan that covers prescription drug coverage.

    Though these parts are helpful, they do not cover all senior health care expenses. Additional coverage is necessary and creating a struggle for seniors to pay their bills successfully. Based on a seniors income, it is decided by their medical plan what is and isn’t covered. This include hospital visits, surgery and prescription drug payments. When on a fixed income this becomes increasingly hard for seniors to decrease their stress level and have a clean bill of health. This often leaves seniors choosing between food and medicine.

    ObamaCare Medicare Reform
    According to Barack Obama’s WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/ “In 2012 seniors got a 50 percent discount when buying brand name drugs and 14 percent discount on generic drugs covered by Medicare Part D. This reform gets stronger every year increasing coverage and closing the donut hole until it disappears in 2020. From that point on seniors will only pay usual drug co-pays.”

    Many seniors live in poverty as they get older.
    According to SocialSecutiy.gov http://socialsecurity.gov/ “The likelihood of living on a low income is the greatest for women, minorities, and the old Americans. Poverty rates increase with age, with 23 percent of people 75 years of age or over poor or near poor, contrast to 16 percent of those 65-74 years of age. Nearly one-fourth of elderly women are poor or near poor, reflecting their lower wage levels during working years, their increased risk of financial stress from widowhood, and longevity that exceeds savings. Elderly minorities are particularly vulnerable to low incomes.”

    When did Health Care become so expensive?
    According to a study done by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research organization based in Menlo Park, California,”58 percent of people didn’t seek treatment they needed because it was too expensive. Protecting and keeping Medicare solvent has been caught in a political boondoggle. But with people living longer — men can expect to live 81.6 years, up from 66.1 and women are living to 86, up from 73.5 — and 70 percent of people over 65 needing long-term health care, the need for a “financially viable scheme” is dire, the report concluded. This link allows seniors to take quizzes and read facts on current health care policies to inform them on their Medicare situation. http://kff.org/graphics/health-reform/

    “Working with elder HIV/AIDS patients, I see a lot of heart throughout my work day. I hope to see Obama put more into action, aside from Obama Care I would like to see elderly citizens, especially the sick, be able to live comfortably and not have to work about their medical debt.” Said Monmouth County HIV Support Group Supervisor, Elise Mallea,

    Older than 65 and terminally ill.
    “I have seen plenty of my patients get turned down half way through their in-patient care programs. Whether they are disabled and unable to work or suffer from a disease, I find it very hard to not assist them due to their economic status.” Said Millea,

    “Besides my occasional trip to ShopRite, I often eat home with my family. I try not to spend money just in case of an emergency.” Said Jeckert

    Are students aware of the Health Care struggle?
    For young adults, health care in their senior years is far away. They think that they will be able to pay for their own heath care plan since they will have a career but often forget that there will be other life expenses such as a home, care and family.

    VIDEO: Interview with student Bridget Emslie

    “I know that my grandfather has to see his doctor every two weeks, and is usually prescribed some kind of new medication. This has become a rough situation for him because his plan doesn’t cover to medicine, only the doctor visit.” Said Ramapo Student, Bridget Emslie.

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    One Response to Seniors Struggle with Health Care Costs

    1. Tara
      May 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      This is a really interesting story with a lot of great background info. I also really like the fact that you were able to get two videos in the story. The only thing I would be more interested in would maybe be getting another story from an elder or maybe some kind of care taker for the elderly. Great Job! It seems like you did a lot of research

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