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International Survey Finds Older Americans Were Sicker and Faced More Financial Barriers to Health Care Than Counterparts in Other Countries

An international survey of older adults finds that seniors in the United States are sicker than their counterparts in 10 other high-income countries and face greater financial barriers to health care, despite the universal coverage that Medicare provides. The authors of the report – 2017 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey of Older Adults – interviewed adults age 65 and older in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K., and the U.S. Interviews were conducted by phone (and also online in Switzerland) between March and June 2017. Survey findings also included, across all the countries, few elderly adults discuss mental health concerns with their primary care providers. Moreover, nearly a quarter are considered “high need” — meaning they have three or more chronic conditions or require help with basic tasks of daily living.

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