Senior Finances Inextricably Tied to Medical Care

Jun 6th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Finances

SCJ recently posted an article about healthcare reform and Medicare and preventive services.  The article posits Healthcare Reform is inextricably tied to senior citizen finances.  Inextricably means… there is no escape.

The referenced article describes a new preventive service that goes into effect in September, 2010, and is incorporated into Medicare coverage on January 1, 2011.  Take a look at the article to see what we are talking about.

The issue here is financial.  When we were younger and in our career(s) and making replaceable money (vs fixed income), most of us had health care coverage paid for by our employer.  We had all kinds of test covered, because the insurance industry knew we were young and the odds of our having a major illness were minimal.  So we had great coverage, great medical services, low deductibles, low copays and … great coverage.

Now we are seniors.  We are older.  Our medical needs have escalated.  And health insurance coverage has become more costly.  Copays have increased.  Deductibles have skyrocketed.  Some care isn’t covered at all… just because we got older.

Most of us are on fixed incomes.  That means we don’t get annual increases in our income.  It stays the same as it was last year… sometimes with a cost of living increase in our Social Security benefits.  And sometimes not…

Some… most?… of us have to choose between paying our rent and buying food, and medical care.  Our financial state is inextricably–inescapably–tied to our medical care.  Do I buy groceries for this next week, or do I get a mammography to be sure I don’t have breast cancer.  My mother and two sisters died from breast cancer.  I’m a high risk.  Do I eat for a week or do I get a preventive medical test?

All this is happening because I got older… and I lived, while my sisters and mother died… and now I have to decide whether to eat or get a medical test?

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