Social threats to older adults' healthcare: 7 things to know

Economic instability, loneliness and food insecurity are the top social barriers affecting older adults' access to care, according to a study from Alignment Healthcare, an insurtech carrier of Medicare Advantage plans. 

The study was conducted by research firm Toluna and sponsored by the insurtech company, according to an Aug. 29 Alignment news release. The study asked 2,601 adults 65 and older across the U.S. about their biggest obstacles to healthcare and the support they need to overcome those challenges. The study was conducted online from July 24 to Aug. 13 and focused on social determinants of health.

"With 10,000 adults turning 65 every day, it’s more urgent than ever to understand the issues seniors face that impede their path to health, wellness and happiness," Dr. Dinesh Kumar, Alignment Healthcare chief medical and chief operating officer, said in the release. 

Seven things to know: 

1. Thirty-five percent of respondents said their biggest obstacle to healthcare in the next year is other responsibilities taking priority over their health and medical care. 

2. Twenty-two percent said having difficulties paying medical bills, or paying for medication or related supplies is their biggest obstacle to care over the next year. 

3. Sixteen percent said they have outstanding medical debt. 

4. Twenty percent said they were unsure if they have the resources to pay for medical debt. Eleven percent said they did not. 

5. Twenty percent said they feel lonelier or more isolated than they did a year ago. 

6. Fifteen percent said they anticipate struggling to put healthy food on their table in the next year. 

7. Fourteen percent said they will not have consistent transportation to medical care in the next year. 

Read the full report here

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