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People of All Ages Need Health Care Reform: Part 2 – Seniors

Health care costs present a significant expense for elders and elder couples, even though they receive coverage from Medicare. Health care, not even taking into consideration long-term care (which for at-home care, three days a week, on average costs almost $18,000 a year, while nursing home care costs just under $70,000 a year), is the second largest expense for elders living in good health. For those elders not in good health, of course, the costs are even greater. To see what seniors are paying for health care in Pennsylvania please see PathWays PA’s Elder Economic Security Standard.

Health care costs can be overly burdensome for elders living on a fixed income, such as those individuals living on Social Security payments alone. Due the high cost of health care, many elders go without supplemental coverage and preventive care, and therefore they go without vital services. For example, largely due to the high cost of preventive care, in the past two years 20 percent of women over the age of 50 did not receive a mammogram. Preventive care, like mammograms, helps save lives and money, but for too many under the current system the cost of prevention is just too much.

Health care reform will help seniors, in particular, by lowering premiums and extending the solvency of Medicare. Through prevention, focusing on primary care, and lowering drug costs, seniors will be healthier, saving money in the long-term. Health care reform is important for so many, but for our seniors it is critical to their overall health, well-being, and financial security.

Information provided is according to reports released by the US Department of Health and Human Services and Wider Opportunities for Women.

Have a health care story of your own to share? Please add it to the comments below!

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