As health care prices rise, more may turn to programs such as ALTCS/Medicaid

By October 28, 2010Uncategorized

Anybody who has received a bill from an emergency room, specialist or physician knows that health care does not come cheap.  And, as was illustrated in a recent New York Times opinion piece, these prices have been on the increase for quite some time.  What is more troubling is that it looks like they will continue to increase until we do something as a nation to implement some control.

As the opinion piece pointed out, we are in a cycle where health care manufacturers produce and promote their most expensive products; and these costs, of course, are eventually born by patients or their insurance.  As is to be expected with medical technologies, the typical patient does not have the information to decipher which technology is the best, so he accepts at face value what he is told by his doctor, and is thus unable to shop prices.  This leads to the innovation of more expensive drugs and technologies, and prices continue to soar.

Policy makers have ideas about how we may be able to resolve this issue.  In fact, the new health care reform bill provides for the establishment of a non-government panel that will study health care outcomes in order to recommend cost-effective approaches to medical diagnosis and treatment.  The catch here is that the panel’s recommendations will carry little force, as nobody in the medical community will be required to follow them.

So, until something changes, consumers of health care are essentially left to take matters in their own hands.  And, what are consumers to do when health care prices become overwhelming?  Take the cost of care in a skilled nursing facility, for instance, which in Arizona averages about $6,000 per month.  Without some type of assistance, this cost could be difficult for most anybody to bear.

When it comes to long-term health care, those who apply for Arizona Medicaid may be able to obtain some relief.  Arizona Medicaid, or ALTCS, as it is known, helps those with financial and medical needs pay for the costs of long-term care.  So while it is true that health care costs are continuing to rise, there is help paying for such costs for those who meet Medicaid qualifications.  Many people find that the time to begin ALTCS planning is early on.  Taking this proactive approach with an Elder Law attorney may help individuals obtain Arizona Medicaid eligibility with as little delay possible.