Georgia among the worst states for older adult health care

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Georgians 65 and older make up around 14% of the population according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Over 1,700,000 Peach State residents are also registered for Medicare.

Yet a recent analysis shows that not all health insurance programs for people 65 and older are equal.

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MedicareGuide, an insurance coverage resource, compared 50 states and Washington, D.C. to determine where they fall in cost, access and quality of health care. Each category was evaluated using 24 metrics. Among them were per capita prescription drug costs and average monthly insurance premium or cost. Access metrics such as physicians per capita and public hospital system quality were evaluated. Quality factors included life expectancy and cancer mortality rate. MedicareGuide’s sources included the Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Geriatrics Society.

Georgia was at the bottom of the list.

It bested one state — Oklahoma — but still came in at No. 50 on the list of the best states for older adult care. The state scored just over 10 points for access, 14.8 points for cost and 10.55 points for quality. That totaled 35.36 points.

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One-size-fits-all methods to save costs don’t exist for older adults seeking Medicare, according to AssociationHealthPlans.com president Kev Coleman. But there are some general rules that can keep out-of-pocket payments low.

“The first rule is to use your health plan’s in-network healthcare providers except in instances where there is a compelling medical reason to go out-of-network,” he told MedicareGuide. “A similar recommendation is to use drugs that are on the health plan’s formulary (i.e. the list of covered prescription drugs). However, it is always worthwhile to compare prices on a website such as GoodRx to see if your medication can be purchased for a price lower than your health plan’s copayment.”

Georgia’s health care isn’t just poor for older adults. A WalletHub ranking released this spring also showed that it came in last in kids’ health and access to health care.

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