General Question

syz's avatar

Could the combination of Alzheimer's and the American healthcare system be any worse?

Asked by syz (35938points) 1 month ago
25 responses
“Great Question” (10points)

Dad was diagnosed 10 years ago and Mom has been his primary caregiver. He recently fell, spent just under a week in the hospital, and is now in rehab for the 20 days that Medicare will pay for. The rehab facility is like an insane asylum, but it was the only place with space available. They did everything they were supposed to do -worked hard all of their lives, raised a family, sent the kids to college, saved for retirement. And at $7000/month for memory care, it will all be done in a matter of months so that Mom can apply for Medicaid and lose everything.

Why do Americans tolerate this broken healthcare system?

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Answers

snowberry's avatar

I’ve been saying this for a while, but it seems to me that few agree with me here. Medicare is a scam.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I’m not sure why we do. We shouldn’t.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I think that you need to throw the pharmaceutical industry in the mix to make things REALLY awful.

As to the question “who do Americans tolerate…”

1) the republican party has has vigorously fought one-payer and national systems for decades, back to the 1960s.

2) people don’t want to pay taxes and they are so short sighted that they don’t see that they will need medical services eventually.

Our politicians have screwed us over, for generations. But keep in mind that us citizens elect the politicians, so in a way we did it to ourselves.

jca2's avatar

Rich people and middle class will hide their money legally with trusts and other legal documents. That’s how that works. THe key is anticipating that and doing the same, ahead of time, so your assets are protected. It costs some money for a decent attorney but it’s worth it.

janbb's avatar

@snowberry I’m not defending the US healthcare system, it should be single payer. But Medicare is not a scam. When I broke my ankle, my surgery was completely covered and I had home health aides,PT and nursing visits when I got home. All on Medicare.

There definitely are not good provisions for long term care like @syz‘s father needs and that is terrible but it doesn’t mean that Medicare is a scam.

JLeslie's avatar

It totally sucks. Such a rip off. I am pretty sure these facilities make a fortune, Plus, so many of the facilities are depressing. I am sorry you are dealing with this. It’s a good reason to have children. I have no kids, and I will be at the mercy of the staff wherever I wind up if I outlive my husband.

My aunt was able to get Medicaid and have an aid come to the house, but she did not need memory care, she needed physical help for part of the day. NY is better than some other states. She was able to give her money to my sister and me (around $100k total) and then we created a pooled trust for her. AS long as money went through the pooled trust she could get the Medicaid, It is a crazy system. It was all above board, we disclosed everything to Medicaid.

The only reason we knew how to do it was because my sister was connected in the healthcare system. My mom had given some money to a lawyer to help us with it, but it was $5,000 just to get started, and my sister freaked out, and we had to threaten the lawyer to get our money back, but we actually did get it back.

Other states it is much less than $100k, you have to spend down almost everything to qualify, which is pretty scary.

As @jca2 wrote, people with money start giving their kids tax free money and creating trusts and all sorts of way to avoid a look back and keep the money in the family. Even the middle class people gift their money to their kids once they hit a certain age to spend down. I think it is around $15k per person, which means each parent, can give that each year tax free. Plus, the estate exemption is something like $12 million per person now, so maybe parents can actually give millions to their kids before they die tax free and just account for it, I am not sure of that last part, and then if it is more than a certain amount of years before filing for Medicaid the money is possibly excluded from any sort of look back.

Seeing a lawyer for a will and advice on legally hiding your money when you are young is the cheapest way to take care of it. The lawyers prey on people who are already older.

jca2's avatar

I think many people confuse or don’t understand the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is for elderly people, and if you have other insurance (like from your previous employer) Medicare may become your primary insurer and your other insurance will become your secondary, or else there are additional plans you can purchase for additional benefits. Medicaid is for people who are financially eligible, also disabled people, no matter what age (starting at birth, actually, starting in the womb).

@snowberry The OP mentions Medicaid but you mention Medicare. What do you think is a scam about Medicare?

gondwanalon's avatar

Healthcare works great as long as you don’t get sick.

What works better, government run healthcare or privately run healthcare insurance?

I’m a retired 73 year old male and over the last 23 years healthcare insurance companies provided from my work (and now paid for by me) has paid over $1 million on me. 2 months ago my health insurance paid $181K (entire bill) to keep my heart beating normally (ablation to stop atrial fibrillation).

Honestly I doubt that a government run healthcare system would be OK with providing so much resources to attempt to stop a-fib (there are no guarantees) on such an elderly patient. Very likely I’d be encouraged to just live with a-fib like millions of others do. A-fib makes me feel sick and miserable. Takes me to some dark and negative places (including doing myself in).

Of course private health insurance is not cheap. But it’s worth it to me. Also pays 100% of any medications. I’m only taking one medication (an anti arrhythmia drug) and that costs the insurance company $10K per year.

Good health!
Stay strong!

Smashley's avatar

Yeah, the long term care thing is a major shortfall. It exists in many systems, not just the 51+ systems that make up the “American system”, though. Public or private, the infirm are an expensive inconvenience to any society, and whoever is on the hook paying for them is going to do it as cheaply as possible, unless like in Lons example, they are specifically in the business of providing that kind of care, and charge accordingly.

In a two-tiered system, like Canada, you would likely be unhappy with your father’s care unless you were spending a good chunk of your own money filling the gaps in care, or perhaps your father would be a candidate for MAiD, which is another way a society a go. I can’t imagine European countries are faring much better. Their baby boom was probably larger than ours.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Well. It could ALWAYS be worse.
I actually expect that probably all such programs will be assessed, if Trump wins, and that many will lose what little they already have. Republican presidents like to cut taxes for the wealthy, usually by cutting
back on services to the needy.

Alzheimer’s/dementia, are absolutely gut wrenching for EVERYONE involved.
It’s fucked up, that if you are cunning enough to survive a long time, you’re reward is that you will potentially be tortured to death by circumstance.

My grandmother… I wish SO badly, the last years of her life were not so awful. We tried to let her live with multiple people in the family. She ended up in a very nice “old folks” home. My rich uncle in law paid top dollar for her. But she suffered greatly. Often calling crying, despondent, and confused.
She had a problem with vertigo, and felt dizzy all the time. But she hated medication, and modern medical technology. She eventually developed bone cancer, in her back.
When she passed, it was during the pandemic. We were not even allowed to touch her, and we could just see her through her window. Nobody deserves to die like that.

My other grandmother slowly wore down in a place the government provided. I was very young then. It was a scary place to visit. She didn’t know who we were anyway.
Most patients there, were walking dead. Just zombies. Some cursed ro relive their worst moments, as a revelation multiple times a day.

I guess it’s better than putting old people on ice flows. Sometimes, I’m not sure.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
LifeQuestioner's avatar

I am so sorry! My mom went through something similar but I have a question. If your mom is still at home, then she should only have to spend down half her assets before your dad can go on medicaid. That’s bad enough, but at least she would have half of her assets. She should also be able to keep her house and one car. Who is telling you that she will have to spend everything down?

smudges's avatar

@jca2 MediCARE is also for people with disabilities.

@SnipSnip what the eff does “xx” mean?? It has no contributary value and this is in General.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No @smudges. Other way around. @jca2 is right. Medicare is for 65+. Medicare is for people with disabilities. It has a lot more benefits.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

We have insurance for such conditions and we are glad we did that.

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_III Actually, @smudges was right and I was wrong.

Here’s the link from the Federal govt which explains who is eligible for Medicare:
https://www.hhs.gov/answers/medicare-and-medicaid/who-is-eligible-for-medicare/index.html

smudges's avatar

@Dutchess_III I was approved for SSDI, which is Medicare, when I was 50 and was on it until I turned 65. Then they switched me to SSI – same amount; I guess it just comes from a different system.

snowberry's avatar

@janbb Below is my post from another question. It does a fair job of explaining why I hate medicare.

“As long as we are talking options, I’m tossing this out there.

I am 69 years old. Four years ago I was on the verge of 5 different auto-immune disorders. Had I been going to a traditional doctor in the US, I’d be miserably ill, and on a handful of prescription meds to deal with all my symptoms.

Instead, I’ve been going to a naturopath, I am on no prescriptions, and I’m feeling better than I have in a decade. At this age, most folks I know at least have arthritis or are pre diabetic, or something. Of course none of this is covered by the required (scammy) Medicare and its supplement, so I’m paying out of pocket. Nevertheless, my quality of life is worth the cost.

Some of my natural doctors’ methods have been more successful than others, but I’m still very glad I’ve chosen this path. Regardless of how enmeshed you are in the medical system, it’s important to remember that you are still the consumer, and you are paying THEM. If they aren’t treating you right, you still have options.”

I will add that if more people were able and willing to do as I do, they’d have a much better quality of life and have a lot more available money to spend.

snowberry's avatar

Correction.They’d have more money to spend if they didn’t have to dump so much into the required Medicare payments.

YARNLADY's avatar

I believe the system is tolerated is because more people receive adequate care than do not, plus people don’t realize there is a better way. These combined with the people do not know how to change the system.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We know how to change the system @YARNLADY. It’s not rocket science. Obama tried.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^We really wasted our best leader, on the wrong time period.

JLeslie's avatar

Obama didn’t put enough limits in profiteering when he put together ACA.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Obama didn’t vote in Congress . . . . . . remember. Congress voted on it !

YARNLADY's avatar

@Dutchess_III Tried is the operative word here. So far, no one has succeeded.

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