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Health Care Usage by Older People, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 341

Essay

The purpose of this paper is to compare how older people in Germany and in the United States use the health structure that is available to them in their country.

Health care in Germany is very available to everyone, with special emphasis on the elderly (75+).  Germany has a social security system that is extremely efficient.  Approximately 90% of Germany’s population has health insurance under the statutory health insurance scheme.  Most of the remaining population  has elected  private insurance.  There is also long term care insurance, which came into being in 1995.  The emphasis is on patients choosing their own type of care.  In the case of chronic illness most people prefer to remain at home as long as possible, with help; such as health care givers and housekeepers coming in as needed.  Education and checking up on the illness is part of that.  In the case of diabetes, the patient’s blood sugar levels would be checked periodically by a professional, a diet prescribed and possibly insulin injections. In acute illnesses, the elderly (who are treated the same as other age groups) go to the hospital where they receive whatever care they need.  They may be discharged to their homes or for a short period to a nursing home.  As for palliative care, patients may choose to remain at home with help from professionals, family, and friends and go to a hospice as the end nears.

In the United States the elderly do not fare as well as does the German population. On average, seniors pay 22% of their income for health care costs despite Medicare; and still receive no coverage for dental, hearing or vision care and only partial coverage for skilled nursing facilities and preventative care.  As a result of the latter, they are often not sufficiently informed to do their part to prevent or to manage an illness (e.g. diabetes). However, their hospital, physician, and prescriptions are covered.  The elderly are covered by Medicaid, which offers fairly comprehensive benefits, but providers can be difficult to find due to low reimbursement.

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