One Of The Most Decisive Topics In Our Current Climate Is Healthcare
One of the most divisive topics in our current climate is healthcare. Stress about medical bills, premiums, and medicine can be found in nearly every adult you encounter. As we get older, we’re more likely to require some form of medical care, and health insurance companies respond by making premiums higher for adults. Unfortunately, in tandem with the cost of doctors’ visits is the fact that most doctors are less trained in caring for older adults, thus causing you to inevitably see your doctor more frequently to get a diagnosis.
Only a fraction of most medical school curriculum focuses on older adults, despite that same demographic representing a higher percentage of patients in hospitals and outpatient clinics. According to Dr. Louise Aronson, author of the book “Elderhood” and a geriatrician; “many health care professionals lack specific training in the anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and special conditions specific to older adults”. This is especially upsetting when you consider that older immune systems can be more susceptible to harm caused by certain medications or hospitalization, among just the general wear and tear of the average adult body.
Fortunately, Dr. Aronson assures that this bleak level of attention is starting to change for the better. Many surgeons now take the time to research and implement the most effective way to prepare their older patients for pre- and post-surgical care, and anesthesiologists are studying more closely the effects of anesthesia on mature adults.
Unfortunately, the cost of medical services remains a challenge, despite the turn of the tides on medical advancements. Those who qualify for Medicare can benefit from a large pool of medical care options, but retirees can be saddled with detrimental medical bills that can impact their long-term standard of living. Devastating findings from a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The New York Times reported that more than half of people who struggle to pay medical bills “must change their lifestyle in some way, such as cutting household spending, depleting savings or seeking an additional income source”. Compounding that stress is the consequence of damaging credit, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that about 43 million Americans have overdue medical bills on their credit reports.
While this all might seem dismal, there are some insurance options that offer the flexibility to use assets for a variety of needs. As an example, some life insurance and annuity products can offer benefits to assist with the financial burden of long-term care, should you ever need it, with benefits you won’t lose even if that day doesn’t come. One of our consultants can help you learn more about the alternatives available to you.
For those looking for assistance immediately, one way to reduce medical bills is to curb unnecessary medical services. Washington Health Alliance recently ran an analysis of claims from 2 million Medicaid and commercially insured patients and found that $341 million was spent on 48 measures of unnecessary health care over one year in the state of Washington. The vast majority (92 percent) of these services were low-cost, but the findings support the idea that the cost of minor services add up quickly over a large population. Some examples of frivolous, or low value, services found in this study were prescription opioid medications for lower back pain (in the first four weeks), antibiotics for upper respiratory and ear infections, and annual EKGs or cardiac screenings for low-risk patients.
However, even with these findings, the fact remains that medical care can be exorbitantly expensive even if you have health insurance. Whether you are in a dire financial situation right now due to medical expenditures, or you want to ensure you have a safety net for when unexpected issues arise, one of our financial consultants in bucks county is readily available to help and answer questions.
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