Free Health Insurance For The Elderly

Lisa - Orrington, Maine
Entered on October 20, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I believe that free health insurance should be provided for all of the elderly who are natural born US Citizens and those who became US Citizens and worked in the US. The cost of living is difficult for everybody with the current economic situation, but it has a greater impact on the elderly due to their fixed income.

Many of the elderly still own their own homes and are not yet ready to give them up . With the rising cost of fuel, food,and prescriptions it will become more difficult for seniors to manage what little money they recieve once a month. I know of a few elderly people who are in difficult financial situations. One elderly woman receives $500 a month and is only allowed to keep $40 of it. She lives in an assisted living facility and Maine Care takes the rest to pay her bills. Another elderly woman lives in her own home and received $979 out of her $1075.50 social security check, $96.50 was withheld for Medicare D. The Medicare plan covered 80% of her medical costs. Due to her glaucoma, she had to pay $30 for one bottle of drops that would last one month. Fortunately, she is healthy and doesn’t have to pay out more for prescriptions. Just recently, she went to the state for help and was denied MaineCare and Food Stamps,but the state is providing her with an alternative insurance plan that picks up the remaining 20% so she does not have to pay out of pocket. Her prescriptions are now only $2-$5. The state is paying her Medicare D premium so she will be receiving the full $1075.50 from her social security.

Some individuals have to use hundreds of dollars out of their monthly income for their prescriptions and then have no money left over for food. One of my close friends is elderly. She makes a little over $1000 a month and pays her Medicare D premium. She picked up a supplemental policy that costs $200 a month and that covers the remaining 20% that Medicare doesn’t. She qualifies for heating assistance but receives only $80-$100 for the full year which is applied as a credit toward her electric bill. Her electric bill each month is $248 and she pays $200 for a small 2 bedroom apartment that is a subsidized rent. She has a life insurance policy that is $35 a month which will only cover a viewing and cremation. She pays $57 a month for her auto insurance policy and $50 a month for her phone bill. Due to repairs on her car, she had to use a credit card and ran up a $7,000 bill. She is now making $300 a month payments on that. During the winter, She would keep her electric heat at 60 degrees and would sleep in a winter coat and mittens on cold nights. Her diet mainly consists of escarole because after she has paid everything else out, she has no money left over for food.

These are just a few examples of elderly people I know who are struggling. Imagine all of the others who are in far worse situations. If the U.S.Government provided health insurance for these elderly individuals, then the money they get for their monthly income could be used for their housing and food.