What happens to old people in the USA when they need medical?

Family issue here so much appreciated any advice! Please don’t descend into politics, I need practical, useful advice.

Got some oldies in the USA with significant medical issues. They’re apparently taken care of by Medicare, but that seems to be sputtering as they encounter deeper issues - e.g. it won’t pay for diagnostics to determine if a lump is cancerous. Apparently. They are old, so I don’t know if they’re just being messed around by a system that sees their demise coming and is therefore unwilling to cough up.

What other kinds of avenue (beyond, unfortunately, private wealth or income) exist in the USA to assist? Obamacare?

In addition to medical, I’m talking assisted living, hospice care, that kind of thing.

I don’t know much about any of it, but looking to help them out.

I don’t mean to sound flip, but can you move them to another country? That would be cheaper than trying to help from overseas. They’ll need an advocate to fight for them every step of the way and keep all the info recorded and searchable. Oftentimes mental sluggishness – if not outright dementia issues – makes navigating the medical system particularly difficult for senior citizens.

Another option is to at least move them to a better state. Medicare coverage, and medical facilities in general, can vary greatly from state to state. And if you’re following the news, even Medicare (which is supposed to be federal) is severely curtailed now in red states.

It is possible that in the right state, with the right Medicare coverage and possibly an add-on policy through the ACA marketplace, you would be able to cover assisted living and hospice care. Not at the nicest of facilities probably, but they wouldn’t be out on their asses. In the right state, that is.

If there is a major university nearby, there might be clinical trials they could join. These trials include a lot of the ongoing diagnostics that otherwise aren’t covered by insurance.

Having said that…medical trials aren’t a guarantee. A friend was just telling me yesterday that her breast cancer/uterine cancer trial changed their protocols and dropped her as no longer fitting their needs, which means now the regular uterine ultrasounds she’s been having will no longer occur, her insurance won’t pick them up, and since she had to cut her 5 years of tamoxifen short because of dangerous side effects she’s actually in acute risk of developing uterine cancer now, with no way to afford staying on top of it to catch it early enough. So, yeah.


There are a lot of charities out there who help people with health issues in various ways. For example: http://www.charitywatch.org/toprated.html#cancer. You can apply for aid from these organizations.

Also, other governmental programs are in place to help out with medical: http://www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/affordable/hillburton/index.html.

In either of these cases, I’m not sure if your friends would be covered, but it’s at least something to look into.


Thanks @chgoliz and @JonasEggeater - much appreciated! Will check into those leads.

(They’re in Florida)

I’m sorry to hear your parent(s) are unwell. I’m assuming you’re in the UK though that might be totally incorrect - assuming it’s accurate

I’ve been researching immigration into the UK for personal reasons and at the moment it looks like you now have to sign a form stating that you sponsor your relatives to join you in the UK without recourse to public funds for the first 5 years they are here. The NHS have guidelines about not withholding treatment from anyone who presents at an A&E - I think the guidelines are that they treat anyone who asks for help, but they grass up anyone who’s got “no recourse to public funds” stamped on their visa to the Home Office. The disclaimer that you sign when you sponsor a relative to live in the UK states that you’ll be personally liable for their upkeep, housing and / or deportation (!) until they’re granted indefinite leave to remain, which takes 5 years and three interviews at t=0, t=30 months and t=60 months. Without descending into politics, it’s probably essential to understand whether, if your parent(s) used NHS treatment, this would later cause Theresa May’s goons to invoice you for that treatment. The changes to the immigration policy were put in place in the last few months, so I don’t think there have been any tests of what happens yet.

To sponsor a family member to join you in the UK, You need to have a pre-tax income of £18600 per adult family member you want to sponsor to enter the UK, and you need to have property that you own or rent exclusively to house them in. The paperwork costs about £800 to file and takes up to 3 months to process.

Many thanks - they actually have British passports, so we’re good on the Theresa Repellent!


Oh, well then, there’s your answer!

Seriously, when I read “Florida” my heart sank. If you love them, get them out of there.

Right! When I compare it to the less than perfect National Health System we have here in the UK, I feel like we live in paradise.

I’m pretty sure they’re attached like barnacles to the warm weather, grim reaper or not.

I was living in California at one point when I was diagnosed with a tumor - (in the brain :frowning: but benign :slight_smile: ) - surgery would have been $60-$100K and not covered by the insurance I had - therefore back to Blighty for me!


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