THis is a big problem for many families. Even those who are not retired.
WHen I was working our employee health insurance one year the part we paid jumped from $200 per month to $900 per month, we made minimum wage!
Another time I worked a job that just before I left the health insurance premiums made a price increase so that me and several co workers did not GET a paycheck every 2 weeks, but rather a bill becuz our pay no longer covered our medical coverage.
Depending on assets, many people cannot get assistance for medications or docs etc.
IIRC my copy of AARP bulletin, maybe? (or maybe it was my local paper) this week said medical costs are the #1 cause of bankruptcy.
My husband now gets veterans benefits for 100% permanant and total combat related disability. It took us 10 years for those to kick in properly. Then we had to be at that rating for 2 years before we got our Champ VA medical coverage. I had gotten awarded my soc sec disability, but had to be on soc sec disability 2 years before Medicare kicks in. Our income was $20 per year over the income cutoff guidelines. Becuz my husband had been disabled in his prime, (and we had financially supported both his divorced parents before they died, and his 2 nephews and my one nephew) we had no savings, no retirement funds etc.
SO here we were 5 of us, here, 4 of us with disabilities. Even if I could have afforded private health insurance, the 4 of us were "uninsurable"
Our medication bill for the month at that time was over $5,000.
I simply could not do it. The downside was I did not get my medications, and I suffered worsening of my illness and irreversible damage in my body.
SInce that time prescription medication assistance is more common via the medication manufacturers. ANd more programs have come into existance.
Another sad reality is that it can be quite difficult to get in home help for older people who may have say a stroke but are not in a nursing home. It can also be a problem getting into a nursing home.
My mother and my best friend both (and myself for awhile and my husband) were dependant upon others for assistance with bathing dressing and feeding. My mom and my friend had pretty good private health insurance, BUT......it did NOT cover bathing dressing and eating assistance. And the criteria for nursing home was quite rigid. THis meant those issues were left entirely up to the families.- which can pose a problem if a spouse must work or the children still also need care.
I am a nurse, and I worked in our county nursing home and later I did home health care. These are very common problems. It is very sad. ANd quite scary.
The good thing is becuz I am a nuse, I was able to provide what my mom and husband needed. I already new HOW to do it. BUT it got complicated becuz my mom and husband lived in different homes and I have 3 kids, 2 of whom are also disabled.
It all came to a head on me and clashed making me wish I could clone myself in Nov "05 when my husband landed in ICU in respiratory distress with sepsis in one hospital 90 mons one direction from home, my mom in her final hours with lung cancer spread to her brain in another hospital 90 mins a diff direction, and my son in yet another hospital 5 hours from home having 9 hour surgery on his poked out eye and me flaring from my Lupus and RA and my easy child and bipolar dtr at home, UG!