The older an individual gets, the more fragile and vulnerable they become to diseases due to weaker immunity. This ultimately affects the amount of money they use on medical services since they have to visit hospitals more often. Even though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is meant to help the elderly cover their healthcare bills, particularly through Medicare, the group is still expected to pay large premiums for private health insurance programs. The main issue is that the old need more medical care compared to other ages and, therefore, face more insurance-related challenges even with the existing healthcare policies.
First, some of the criteria used to determine one’s qualification and eligibility for affordable healthcare insurance coverage can affect the elderly. For instance, the law dictates that the senior must be 65 years and above as well as in a position to access Social Security retirement benefits as an end-stage renal disease patient or as permanently disabled (Waddill, 2019). The problem with this aspect of the legislation is that not every old person falls within the mentioned recommendations. Additionally, factors such as location, tobacco use, number of dependents, and plan category also affect a senior citizen’s premium healthcare access (Waddill, 2019). Consequently, there are people who are forced to spend much more to cover their medical bills and people who are left with no option but to suffer from their illnesses.
Second, some of the existing health insurance plans do not accommodate the needs of the elderly. For example, Medicaid has several other criteria which have to be followed other than the age factor. Income eligibility and asset requirements are some of the complex aspects that need to be considered for a senior to receive the insurance cover. For instance, a 65 year or older citizen will need up to $2000 worth of assets to qualify for home-based nursing Medicaid care (Price, 2020). Moreover, there are plans such as those included in Medicare that do not cover important benefits such as dental and vision care (Cobo, 2019). There are medical issues which are unique to the elderly, and it is unfortunate that these are not prioritized in the health insurance plans.
Besides Medicare and Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act introduced in 2010 also bears some limitations to the medical services meant for the elderly. As mentioned earlier, the old are vulnerable to numerous terminal illnesses and therefore need the best insurance package. However, the ACA indicates that higher-income enrollees are eligible for higher premiums, which is quite unfortunate considering that a majority of the elderly are too old to work and earn (World Health Organization, n.d.). Furthermore, the co-pay and cost-sharing option introduced by Obamacare means extra expense on old patients and their families. These issues show that the government is unwilling to introduce plans that are specifically meant for the elderly.
Finally, medical insurance covers are not free and, therefore, have general economic impacts on the elderly. Young people are more likely to enjoy healthcare insurance benefits at premium levels because they have access to jobs and can comfortably pay for healthcare plans. Contrarily, the older one gets, the more challenges they experience, and considering there are other bills besides medical expenses, the elderly end up struggling financially. Moreover, senior citizens who are low-income earners are disadvantaged because they receive little or no retirement benefits that are meant to provide and support health insurance coverage (Jacobs, 2021). The elderly experience more economic challenges compared to the youth, making it impossible for them to conveniently meet their medical needs.
To conclude, healthcare is a basic need, which means that both the young and the old are supposed to receive the best medical services. Unfortunately, these aids are not free, and everyone has to pay for them either through cash or insurance covers. The elderly are at a disadvantage because they are vulnerable and need more medical attention. However, the government has done little to support them since the existing health policies treat all patients in the same manner, forgetting that senior citizens have more economic challenges.
Cobo, C. M. S. (2019). Continuity of care model for older adults. International Archives of Nursing and Health Care, 5(1), 15-22.
Jacobs, P. (2021). The impact of Medicare on access to and affordability of health care. Health Affairs, 40(2), 266-273.
Price, S. (2020). How age affects health insurance costs. Value Penguin.
Waddill, K. (2019). Medicare advantage payment cuts did not affect member care access. Health Payer Intelligence.
World Health Organization. (n.d.). Universal Health Coverage and ageing. Web.