Improving Health Care Access for Older Alaskans: What Are the Options?
|dc.contributor.author||Foster, Mark A.|
|dc.description.abstract||This report focuses on the problem older Alaskans who rely on Medicare face getting access to primary care, and discusses some of the options policymakers are considering to resolve the problem. But older Americans across the country also report difficulty getting the primary care they need. The discussion here sheds light on the problem and potential solutions nationwide. Most Americans 65 and older use Medicare as their primary health insurance. Medicare is federal health insurance for people 65 and older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with end-stage renal disease—but this report looks only at access issues for Medicare beneficiaries 65 and older. Doctors don’t have to participate in the Medicare program. But those who do participate have to accept, as full payment, what Medicare pays for specific services. Many primary-care doctors say Medicare doesn’t pay them enough to cover their costs—so growing numbers are declining to see new Medicare patients. Among primary-care doctors nationwide, 61% accept new Medicare patients.1 National surveys sponsored by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission have found that 17% of Medicare patients in the U.S. had “a big problem” finding family doctors in 2007—up from 13% in 2005.2 In Alaska, a 2008 survey by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) found that just over half of Alaska’s primary-care doctors were willing to treat new Medicare patients.3 The situation was worse in Anchorage, where 40% of all older Alaskans live. Only 17% of primary-care doctors in Anchorage were willing to treat new Medicare patients as of 2008 (Figure 1).4||en_US|
|dc.description.sponsorship||The Harold E. Pomeroy Public Policy Research Endowment||en_US|
|dc.description.tableofcontents||Introduction / How Medicare Works / Closed Doors / Older Anchorage Residents and Primary Care / Options for Changing Access to Primary Care: What is Alaska Considering? / Conclusions / Appendix||en_US|
|dc.publisher||Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage||en_US|
|dc.title||Improving Health Care Access for Older Alaskans: What Are the Options?||en_US|