Several researches and studies have been conducted and are still being conducted to find the relation between debt and health so that its drastic effects can be minimized. A recent research has found that the older adults seem to have a higher rate of prevalence of facing problems while paying medical bills as compared to others. In fact, this prevalence was found to be 2.6 times more for this unfortunate older populace.
In this study it was also found that:
- The perceived health status was about 35% of the ethnic and racialdisparity in the issues faced while paying medical bills
- Another additional 39% was found due to several different economic factors of the older people
- The older people are more likely to be contacted by the creditors or a collection agency for pursuing payments and
- They are in more need to borrow money to pay their medical bills while others usually use their savings or health insurance to deal with their medical bills.
Often these older people are found to be looking for easy options to deal with their debt, look for debt reliefs at different sites, consider different debt settlement reviews and ratings to select a good debt relief agency which keeps them stressed out and thereby in bad mental health, perpetually.
All these facts point out at one thing: getting treated to restore their physical health eventually results in affecting their financial health and being in debt stress continually affects their mental health as well.
Understanding the reasons
There are lots of reasons why these older people are found to be incurring such substantial medical debts.
The most significant reason of all is that they are often found to be lacking in income or health insurance coverage. This limits their ability to pay for their needs for medical care. This gap in income among the older generation is a well-documented fact as well as a persistent issue across this specific lifespan. It is found through research that:
- Several older adults live on a very low or modest income as compared to others
- They are almost 3 times more likely to live in poverty especially after a medical treatment irrespective of the fact that they have or have not met their medical bills
- This income inequality is often linked to a series of adverse health and health care consequences.
Therefore, medical debt is a very serious issue that poses a major and significant threat to the economic security of these older adults.
The Affordable Care Act
Looking at the structural difference between these older people living on lowincome, few of them may be dually covered by Medicare and Medicaid. However, this seldom resolves the issue completely simply due to the variation in Medicaid benefit packages of the state that leaves these dual beneficiaries many a time with the burden of the outofpocket expenses.
- This in turn, greatly presses the budgets of the older adults living on fixed low incomes who also have other financial obligations to meet with.
- As this outofpocket expenses continue to increase, the older adults experience that that their incomes are shrinking continually.
At this point quite naturally the efficacy and usefulness of the 2010 Affordable Care Act comes to the question. According to this Act it is supposed to reduce the financial loadon the older adults of medical care. It is expected to close the “doughnut hole” according to the clauses in Medicare Part D.
However, this does not seem to have any significant effect on those older citizens in particular who need regular medical attention and have to use more health services due to their poor health condition. It seems that they keep on incurring considerable medical debt due to the deductibles and copayments that result in high outofpocket expenses.
Effect of age
Studies also showed that the increasing age is also a reason for these older generation requiring more medical treatment and medical debt due to non-payment. When you consider it at face value, it may appear to you that this happens to be paradoxical simply because it is a fact and recognized that medical expenses will increase with age it will reach its peak on an average rate when someone nears their time of death.
- Howeverin this context, you must know that all these people who usually are aged more than 65 years or older are potentially eligible for Medicare simply due to their senior citizenship factor.
- It is expected that when these people enrollin Medicare it may resultin a considerable decrease in the chances of acquisitioning of new debt by the older generation. It is also expected that it will provide them with an opportunity to reduce their existing debts.
However, it is the most rationalway of thinking that this effect will only begin once someone enrolls in such a program. It is also reasonable to assume that it will continue to accrue with the passing years. Moreover, the assumed shorter life expectancies of the older people as compared to the younger ones do not matter in such situations because one cannot predict death of any particular person who is old and ailing.
Therefore, it is reasonable not to suspect that there will be any agerelated dropin the medical debtsthat may resultfrom depletion. That means anyracial or ethnic composition will not support such assertion as this will stay abnormally constant with age. However, the agerelated disparity in the decline in medical debt warrants further study to come up with some interesting finding.
Conclusion and inference
The study reveals that for all people income, insurance, and their health condition are the most primary and interrelated factors that results in health care disparities, accrual of medical debts, degree of health care utilization and cost,settling for inferior treatments or no treatments due to low resources of the lower income categories.
However, this effect is more profound among the older generation due to their already fragile health conditions requiring continual medical care.