Intended for healthcare professionals


US elderly find it harder to pay medical bills than counterparts elsewhere, survey finds

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 20 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7066
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

US adults aged 65 years or over are more likely to have chronic health problems and to struggle to pay for medical care than are their counterparts in 10 other developed nations, a new survey indicates.1

However, the Americans surveyed were more likely to report that their doctors had discussed with them how to live a healthy life and to have had conversations with their doctor about advanced care planning and to have a written plan regarding the end of life care they desired.

The survey, published by Health Affairs,1 was conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation based in New York City that focuses on health system reform. The lead author was Robin Osborn, the fund’s vice president and director of international health policy and practice innovations. This was the 17th international survey sponsored by the foundation to compare different health systems.

The study was based on a telephone survey of 15 617 adults aged 65 or older in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the …

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