Health Affairs: Among 11 nations, American seniors struggle more with health costs

A majority of older Americans say Medicare is working well. Nonetheless, they report more problems paying for health care and getting primary care than seniors in 10 other major advanced economies, according to a new Commonwealth Fund survey published in the journal Health Affairs.

Medicare, the U.S. government health insurance for the elderly, has clearly eased the cost of aging and lowered the poverty rate among elderly Americans. Yet, nearly one-in-five (19%) Americans ages 65 and older say they had a medical problem but did not visit a doctor, skipped a medical test or a treatment recommended by a doctor, did not fill a prescription or skipped doses of their medicine because of cost constraints. By comparison, a far smaller share of elderly Canadians (9%), British (5%) and French (3%) — all of whom have government-funded health insurance programs — reported cost-related constraints on access to health care.

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