Elder Law


Health Care Discrimination Quick Overview

Health Care Discrimination Quick Overview

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Health Care Discrimination Quick Overview

Despite the fact both the federal government and state governments have helped to establish age discrimination law, ageism continues to be a widespread concern in the United States. Elderly individuals experience age discrimination in many different arenas. Age discrimination law has been developed in order to protect elderly individuals from credit discriminationEqual Employment Opportunity Commission Elderly individuals are at greater risk of suffering from debilitating illnesses than young individuals. Therefore, it is more or less essential that elderly individuals obtain health coverage of some kind.

However, health insurance companies generally maintain outrageous costs for their services, and as such, health coverage is generally more expensive for elderly individuals. Imaginably, many elderly individuals will find it difficult to afford health care coverage. The law allows health insurance companies to refuse an individual coverage due to "preexisting conditions" of a medical nature. Many health insurance companies will utilize this ability to discriminate against elderly individuals. Some health insurance companies will refuse to grant an elderly individual health coverage altogether.

This has been a common cause of age discrimination lawsuits in the past. If an elderly individual is refused health insurance, he/she may accumulate thousands of dollars worth of medical bills in the event that he/she must receive medical attention, although elderly individuals now have the ability to obtain relatively cheap health insurance.

Perhaps even more detrimental than discrimination by health insurance companies is discrimination by physicians. A very small percentage of medical students choose to study geriatric medicine in medical school. As a result, there is a extremely disproportionate ratio of elderly individuals to geriatric physicians.

There are under 10,000 geriatric specialists in the United States and there are million of individuals over the age of 65. Therefore, many elderly individuals do not have access to the health care specialists they require. In many instances, the elderly do not receive the same quality medical attention as younger individuals, with the idea physical deterioration is an inevitable aspect of aging.

Therefore, many physicians have admitted that they do not treat elderly individuals for conditions such as high blood pressure. If left untreated, high blood pressure can result in any number of problems, notably a fatal heart attack. Behavior such as this has resulted in numerous age discrimination lawsuits.

Age discrimination law prohibits medical authorities from refusing elderly individuals necessary medical treatment based on their age. In many cases, elderly individuals also do not receive important regular screenings for various types of cancer. Therefore, fatal diseases, such as colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer, often remain undetected.

Even if medical treatment cannot cure an elderly individual's illness, it may be able to reduce the suffering they experience. Despite the workings of age discrimination law, nevertheless, many health care corporations, insurance companies, and physicians continue to engage in discriminatory methods.

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