Pacific Grove, CA Are Seniors Going To The Doctor More Because They Feel Better About The Economy?by Richard Kuehn on 08/10/12
I've written before on my blog that reports showing that the rate of growth in medical expenses is slowing for seniors may be artificial because many of our elderly haven't gone to the doctor as often as they should because gas is so expensive and co-pays and prescription costs have gone up so much. Many just don't believe it's worth the money to drive to the doctor and see the physician for what they deem to be a minor problem. But this could have negative long-term consequences tp their health. This trend may be starting to reverse as the economy improves according to a report today in the Wall Street Journal. It looked at the most recent quarterly reports from major health insurance companies that showed there was an uptick in outpatient hospital visits and doctor visits recently. Tenet Healthcare CEO Trevor Fettor told the Journal that the company is "seeing an increased willingness of consumers to get that checkup, get that imaging done, get that minor surgery taken care of." And Humana reported a rise in checkups that were fueled by a new Medicare benefit offered under the health care reform law. The news is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it's great that people are getting more of the health care they need. On the other hand, if we see a sharp uptick in doctor visits by Medicare recipients, it will likely cause government officials to lobby for more cuts in benefits in order to balance the budget.