Low income seniors age 65 and over in Georgia have total incomes, including social security and any other income, between $12,384 (poverty) and $18,576 (150 percent poverty). This is too much income for Medicaid eligibility but not enough to meet one’s basic needs.
Medicare supplement plans are unaffordable, as well as the co-pays of Medicare Advantage plans. Thus, many wait to go to the doctor until symptoms can no longer be ignored. This means chronic illnesses are not well managed and these seniors have a decline in health at a greater rate than those with higher income (Graves, et.al., Health Affairs 39, Vol 1, 2020: 67-76). As you know seniors are at a greater risk to develop complications from the coronavirus, as well as flu and other common illnesses.
If one is not optimum health at the onset of such an illness, the risk for complications can be even greater.
There are some groups working with legislators to alleviate the financial strain of this population: Leading Age Georgia, The Georgia Council on Aging, and The Oaks resident Advocacy Group, to name a few. These groups are helping seniors to obtain the basic needs for a dignified life. My hope is that you will investigate and publish the dilemma of seniors in Georgia aging with minimal financial resources.
With a concerted effort by all Georgia’s citizens, change can happen.
Barbara Adle Decatur
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