Updated: Nov 14, 2021
I spent 6 weeks this Spring helping my sister-in-law navigate her healthcare or rather the lack of necessary healthcare. She is in her early 70’s & has been both physically & emotionally challenged through most of her adult life. After her Mother passed away she came to live with us in HI & 5 years later we moved her to FL. It started with basic gap non-coverage, so I decided to roll up my sleeves and figure it out. What an education I got!
In those 6 weeks here’s what I learned, American Seniors are getting screwed big time regarding their healthcare especially lower income Seniors who don’t have advocates to assist them. So I decided today to look at the $3.5 trillion bill that is basically backed by the Democrats in Congress particularly the Medicare additions.
Here are a few highlights…
Medicare expansion to address Dental, Vision & Hearing issues experienced by millions of Americans mostly Seniors. 62.7 million individuals are enrolled. The majority are 65 or older and rely on it as their primary healthcare insurance. Basically Part A pays for hospital coverage and Part B pays for outpatient coverage and while this is significant there are many needs that Medicare doesn’t cover. And yes there are Advantage Plans that are paid for by the individual or Medicare Part D and it’s costly. In 56 years the only addition to Medicare has been coverage for pneumonia vaccines and mammograms.
The additions are as follows:
Dental coverage including dentures, preventative care and emerging dental issues.
Vision coverage including eye exams and glasses.
Hearing coverage including hearing tests and hearing aids.
This seems like a no brainer to me, but not to the current Medicare system or to large insurance companies who have gotten rich off of millions of American Seniors who have literally made decisions about their living situations and habits in order to have the money to afford these basic needs! This would be significant for many who often go without this basic health because they just can’t afford it!
Along with this enormous gap is also the inability for Medicare to cover custodial care or what is referred to as non-nursing, personal care that provides daily living assistance. Custodial care is expensive usually around $50,000 to $100,000 a year for an individual. This care is often needed by families who are caring for a Senior parent or relative and often these family members are over 80 and need care sometimes around the clock. Opposition to this is huge! It is opposed by major hospitals around the country and by insurance companies who fear a loose of money if people who are currently covered were able to get coverage through these new Medicare additions.
So think again if you are not supporting this bill! Take the time to take it apart and read what is actually in it rather then listening to the talking heads tell you Yay or Nay, Look at how the Biden Administration will pay for it and it’s reasonable and it’s achievable only if the bill gets passed! My bottom line is that America is possibly the richest country in the world and we have a healthcare system that is ineffective and costly for those citizens who have spent a lifetime working and contributing and have essentially been forgotten. I urge you to take a look and then become as vocal as you can! My time was well spent this Spring!
Patti Kasanow. Author.