Business and Finance

1 in 5 older Americans say they used up their savings or lost their main source of income because of the pandemic

We’ve all recognized that COVID-19 has taken a merciless toll on the well being of older Americans. Now, a brand new research from the Commonwealth Fund basis finds that the coronavirus has been equally brutal financially.

In reality, the 2021 International Health Policy Survey of Older Adults exhibits Americans 65+ have been dealing with larger financial hardship and well being care disruption than individuals their age in 10 different rich nations. In some instances, far larger.

The findings have been launched a day after the U.S. Census reported that median household income for Americans 65+ fell by 3.3% from 2019-20. It’s now roughly $46,400, stated David Waddington, chief of social, financial and housing statistics at the Census. (The median family income dropped by 2.6% for these below 65).

Some 9% of Americans 65 and older at the moment are residing in poverty. Half of Medicare beneficiaries have incomes under $30,000, in keeping with the National Council on Aging.

A poor exhibiting for U.S. for ‘retiree well-being’

Another new worldwide survey, from Natixis Investment Managers, named the U.S. No. 17 in the world for “retiree well-being.” (Iceland was No. 1 for the third 12 months operating.) America’s rank is down a spot from final 12 months. This survey’s respondents — people with not less than $100,000 in investible property — stated COVID-19 has made retiring securely tougher.

In addition, the Commonwealth Fund President Dr. David Blumenthal stated throughout a name with the media, in the U.S., “Black and Hispanic older adults suffered disproportionately from the pandemic’s economic fallout.”

The Commonwealth Fund surveyed 18,477 adults 65+ from March to June 2021 in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the U.S. Among its stark findings:

Nineteen p.c of older Americans reported they used up their savings or lost their main source of income because of the pandemic. That’s 4 to 6 instances the charge in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Nearly 4 in 10 older Hispanic adults and 1 in 3 older Black adults stated they skilled financial difficulties associated to the pandemic. By distinction, simply 14% of older white adults stated so.

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Source: The Commonwealth Fund

Thirty-seven p.c of older Americans with two or extra persistent circumstances reported pandemic-related disruptions in their well being care. Compared with all the different nations in the survey, they have been the most definitely to have medical appointments canceled or postponed as a consequence of the pandemic. In Germany, for example, simply 11% of individuals 65+ reported such outcomes.

The Commonwealth Fund says 68% of its U.S. respondents reported having two or extra persistent circumstances; 42% had three or extra — considerably larger charges than in the different 10 nations and barely decrease than the percentages for Medicare beneficiaries in the U.S. general.

Twenty-three p.c of Americans 65+ who wanted assist with actions of day by day residing throughout the pandemic — like consuming or getting dressed — didn’t obtain such assist because caregiving companies have been canceled or very restricted. Only individuals 65 and older in Canada and the United Kingdom had issues worse (31% and 30% respectively). 

All of these findings are regardless of our nation spending the highest proportion of its gross home product general on well being care. And regardless of the overwhelming majority of Americans 65+ having medical health insurance, both by means of conventional Medicare, non-public Medicare Advantage plans or Medicaid.

In reality, Sharon Stern, assistant division chief for employment statistics at the Census stated on Tuesday, Sept. 14 that its new figures confirmed simply 1% of Americans 65+ lack medical health insurance. The proportion who’re uninsured is barely larger than 0.9% in 2018.

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Economic challenges, regardless of medical health insurance

Still, stated Reginald D. Williams II, the Commonwealth Fund’s vp for worldwide well being coverage and observe improvements, “At the end of the day, despite having health insurance, older adults [in the U.S.] face higher economic challenges compared to those in other countries.”

Very few older Americans surveyed stated they weren’t planning to get COVID-19 vaccinations. “The vaccination story overall was pretty positive,” stated Williams.

Blumenthal famous that one of the benefits of evaluating simply Americans 65+ with these of an identical age in different nations is that Medicare is the closest the U.S. involves having the type of nationwide medical health insurance the different nations have for all their residents.

He known as Medicare a “critical lifeline” for Americans 65+, but in addition stated it’s a “flawed program” with vital gaps for susceptible beneficiaries.

Because of these gaps, Blumenthal stated, some on Medicare have sizable out-of-pocket well being care bills. “We could make Medicare more affordable by putting caps on out-of-pocket costs and by covering more health services, including dental, vision and hearing,” he famous.


U.S. Census

Sadly, virtually half of all Medicare beneficiaries didn’t see a dentist in the previous 12 months or don’t have dental protection, the National Council on Aging studies.

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Legislation that President Joe Biden has proposed and is below dialogue by Congress would add dental, vision and hearing coverage to Medicare. The imaginative and prescient protection would start in October 2022, the listening to protection in October 2023 and the dental coverage in January 2028, in keeping with the National Council on Aging’s Howard Bedlin.

Proposals for broadening Medicare protection

“This is history in the making,” stated National Council on Aging Chair-Elect Kathy Greenlee, the former Assistant Secretary for Aging below President Barack Obama, talking about the potential for broadening Medicare throughout an online panel dialogue Wednesday.

But whether or not any of these Medicare reforms will turn into regulation is much from sure. Already, medical and dental lobbying teams are combating the proposed further protection, fearing decrease reimbursements to physicians and dentists.

Read: Social Security is the nation’s most valuable program. Congress needs to fix it

Some Republicans consider the added protection can be too pricey for the U.S. authorities. A 2019 proposal so as to add dental, imaginative and prescient and listening to to Medicare was estimated to value $358 billion over 10 years, in keeping with the Brookings Institution.

The Commonwealth Fund’s report concludes with this name to motion: “The U.S. has the means to take steps to reduce this burden on older Americans and to ensure that their health needs are met.”

The basis’s researchers say the U.S. can do extra to assist older adults meet their care wants by: enhancing entry to telehealth companies and integrating them totally with common major care; additional enhancing the financial safety of older Americans and addressing the racial and ethnic inequities the pandemic has exacerbated.”

Richard Eisenberg is the Senior Web Editor of the Money & Security and Work & Purpose channels of Next Avenue and Managing Editor for the web site. He is the writer of “How to Avoid a Mid-Life Financial Crisis” and has been a private finance editor at Money, Yahoo, Good Housekeeping, and CBS Moneywatch. 

This article is reprinted by permission from, © 2021 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

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