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I'm in my mid-40s & I don't remember this happening so much when I was growing up. Of course there were some hardship cases (people who didn't have much money to begin with) but I don't remember hearing about thousands of dollars being spent every month until a person is left with almost nothing. How long has this been going on (5 years?10?15?) & why is it happening?

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Don't blame the healthcare system blame the legal system who are only too happy to help you sue if someone looked at you sideways and then take 25-30% of the settlement.
The bills from the Drs and hospitals to the insurers are indeed astronomical BUT
the amount they allow to pay are just a fraction of the bill. This does of course allow the hospitals to take a loss on their taxes. Medicare does have a limit on the procedures they are prepared to pay for so everything must be pre approved. They also have a cap on the amount they will pay per procedure.
if you are uninsured naturally you will be billed the highest amount although sometimes this can be negotiated. It is also worth trying to negotiate a price for the procedure before having it or go abroad for very expensive non urgent surgeries.
Drugs are another high cost item frequently unjustified. Remember to ask about alternatives and cheaper generics and make use of certain pharmacys that offer generics for a reasonable price. You can also order from abroad which although illegal in the US is seldom prosecuted. If there are worries about the quality of imported drugs check on the country of origin of drugs you are currently prescribed.
There are also some State programs that assist with the cost of medications for example in NYS there is EPIC and some drug companies will assist low income patients.
Finding help with the high cost of medical care takes a lot of leg work or time on the computer.
This forum is a good way to obtain information because the varied backgrounds of the members can be very helpful. Ask a question and you will be surprised at the many answers you receive. However be sure to check the information because it may just be heresy given in good faith
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Hi Candee:
If you haven't already seen an Elder Care attorney who is knowledgeable in getting people "Medicaid Ready", I would strongly suggest it. The money and time I spent in speaking with an Elder Care attorney was very much worth it. She explained to me that it's the middle class who wipe out their life savings. The rich can afford to pay the astronomical costs of good health care, and long term care. The poor are already on Medicaid.
My mom went through most of her savings before I thought about seeing an Elder Care Attorney. I wish that I thought about it sooner.
Good luck, and best wishes to you. I know first hand how difficult this journey is.
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I think my mothers LTC insurance is about 270.00 a month
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GivingitMyAll

There's not much truth to back in the day, regarding people not living long. I think they lived a long time, probably longer than today,Why? Not as many people around, cleaner air, more food, etc. Life expectancy went down when more people started to be around. There was an article about the construction boom in many states, which leads to more buildings and roads, less trees and dirtier air.
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Medical is big business.
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"Back in the Day" people didn't live as long, generally, as they do now. They died from injuries and diseases that we can control now. In case you haven't noticed, in the last few years the cost of EVERYTHING is going up. Gas, housing, groceries, clothing, vehicles, healthcare, ad nauseum. There is no such thing as a free lunch; someone is paying, maybe through taxes or even through funding grants, or donations, or many other ways. My children are your age, and a little older, and I would say that they are not even aware of the cost of long term care. Why would they be? It isn't on their radars yet. You can blame a lot of this on the Baby Boomers, LOL. We, as a group, have lived very different lives from previous generations, and we set the bar high. All I can suggest to you is to invest in Long Term Care insurance, and live on less than you earn, therefore allowing you to save, save, save for that old age. It creeps up on you when you're not looking! Seriously, though, you are correct in that it is a very troubling thing that the cost of living is so high. People say, sign up for Medicaid like it is a given, but it's not always that easy. What are we doing wrong that we have so many elders with dementia? Is it diet? Environment? Are we just outliving our brains?
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Our modern medical practices have extended the length of life for a great many people, but that medical care comes at a cost. We get more years in our life, but not necessarily more life in our years. That's what I think.
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I think the approach to geriatric care has changed, too. So many doctors and offices depend on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement (in the U.S.), so now every little thing is treated... and the bills to Medicare/-caid are astronomical. My dad's 10 day hospital stay was $100k.

So I think it's a couple of things: the care being given is arguably excessive in some (many?) cases, and the billing amounts are unreasonable (imho).

We have a for-profit medical system in the U.S., and it's a huge industry.

Just some thoughts... :-)
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Many older people pay their life savings now for end-of-life care. In my parents' time, children received their parents' estates. This normally included land, money, and other tangibles. Estates with much in them are now becoming more rare. People who can afford to can purchase LTC insurance. Many people, however, cannot afford the policies on their middle-class and lower incomes. They are expensive. It doesn't take long in a NH to go through a fat nest egg and end up having to apply for Medicaid. So taxpayers are also feeling a big pinch.

It wasn't like this in the 1970-80s. I don't know when the expenses started to grow so rapidly. I was looking the other way, since it wasn't relevant to me.
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Candee, I think it's been around for a very long time, some people thought they were too healthy to bother getting life insurance, so they played the odds. Why get health insurance if you are never sick, then one day cancer or another complicated illness developed, and one had to pay out of pocket, or file for bankruptcy.

Thank goodness in today's world we have ACA [Obamacare] where one can purchase affordable health insurance... even those who have a pre-exising condition [some couldn't get health insurance back prior to ACA].

Some people lost their life savings even having health insurance back when there use to be a maximum cap placed on the amount an insurance company would pay... with the ACA, that cap is history, no more worry.
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