This past weekend, in honor of World Health Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) promoted universal healthcare as this year’s World Health Day theme. The goal of universal healthcare is to achieve accessible and affordable health coverage for everyone, everywhere by 2030.
While the healthcare debate has been at the forefront of heated conversations here in America, according to the WHO, at least half the world lacks access to essential health services. It’s estimated that over 100 million people worldwide are pushed into poverty because of their health expenditures and roughly 1 in 10 people across the globe spend at least 10 percent of their household budget on health care expenses.
People, both at home and abroad, often have to make difficult decisions when it comes to healthcare, including choosing between buying medication or buying food and paying for bills. Access to quality and health services not only enhance people’s health and extends coverage of services to older adults, but it also reduces poverty by providing affordable health insurance and drives economic growth. Countries that invest in universal health care overall invest in the long-term well-being of their citizens. Despite the political hoopla, America does actually have some very successful universal healthcare systems, such as Medicaid and Medicare.
Medicare Health Coverage And Medicaid Programs
With increased age, comes increased healthcare costs. Chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, have seen a steady increase over the past 50 years. It is estimated that chronic disease is responsible for 85 percent of healthcare costs for people over the age of 50.
According to AARP, 57 million Americans rely on Medicare to afford healthcare. Medicare is government-subsidized health insurance for individuals over 65, as well as those with specific medical conditions. Before Medicare, almost 1 in 2 older Americans had no health insurance. Medicare provides a level of coverage to people who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
While Medicare is available to anyone over the age of 65, they do make certain exceptions for those who receive Social Security Disability Insurance. Medicare has been such a successful affordable health insurance program, that many states have already adopted expansions of their Medicaid affordable health insurance, including Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland (and Washington, D.C.), Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine.
The remaining 18 states that have not expanded Medicaid affordable health insurance for their residents have put many of their middle-class workers at risk by not providing them with a safety net should they have a medical emergency. If they remain relatively healthy until they qualify for Medicare health coverage, however, they will be able to gain access to affordable health insurance for their senior years.
Local Affordable Health Insurance Programs to Help Seniors
Government agencies, including state-based programs and initiatives, can provide a range of resources to seniors in need. From affordable health insurance to transportation services, to providing in-home care services, many local agencies are able to make up the difference for those who do not have adequate access through their Medicare health coverage.
In addition, there are state-managed Medicare programs that cover some or all of the expenses of medical alert systems, for those who qualify. With the rapid aging of our population, as roughly 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day, there are a number of organizations that can help provide monitored care and affordable health insurance for older adults.
Managed Care plans are a type of health insurance. These plans have contracts with healthcare providers and medical facilities to provide care for members at reduced costs.
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging aims to build the capacity of members in order to help older adults and people with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) is a Medicare and Medicaid for seniors program that helps people meet their healthcare needs in their own community instead of going to a nursing home or other care facility.
Veteran Healthcare Coverage: There are a variety of different veterans programs that help provide affordable health insurance to those who have served our country. Visit the Veterans Affairs website to learn more about whether or not you meet coverage requirements and how to get coverage if you are not enrolled in VA benefits.
24/7 Life-Saving Connected Services
Medical Guardian aims to help aging seniors remain in their own homes for as long as possible thanks to our affordable and reliable medical alert devices. Even if you don’t qualify for a local agency program that will supplement the cost of your medical alert device, you can purchase our Classic Guardian for as low as $1/day. When paired with other services offered through local agencies, seniors can not only have access to a variety of services that will allow them to thrive at home, but they can also take advantage of being connected to outside help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week thanks to Medical Guardian’s top of the line Monitoring Center.
To learn more about your medical alert system being covered under Medicare, check out “Navigating Medicare: What is Covered by Your Plan?”