By 2060, nearly a quarter of the population will be 65 or older, according to U.S. Census estimates. With this growing number of Medicare beneficiaries, it’s important for Medicare to work well for everyone.
A recent study done by the Commonwealth Fund shows that the U.S. falls behind other countries in regard to health care of older people. Although older Americans are typically happier with their Medicare than those in other countries, this may be because Medicare is better than the healthcare they had before they turned 65. The research shows that older Americans are sicker that those in other similarly wealthy countries, and face more financial barriers to getting good care.
Some suggest that a fix to this problem would be to have Medicare start earlier, at age 50, so that aging Americans could get better care sooner, and at a better cost, before their health deteriorates.
When older Americans age into Medicare, many already have multiple conditions they are managing. The most common of these chronic conditions among seniors in 2015 were hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, and coronary artery disease, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The Commonwealth Fund is a foundation that advocates for more health care access and funds health policy research. The Fund released the study in November. The survey focused on the struggles adults 65 and older face in 11 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.