Elder Law Expert Weighs in on U. S. Healthcare Crisis

Gene L. Osofsky of the law firm Osofsky and Osofsky asserts that U.S. medical care has become a “mountain of cost.”

Elder Law attorney Gene L. Osofsky, like many Americans, recently read a feature article in the April 27, 2009, issue of The Nation that gave him pause. The article, entitled “A System from Hell” by Kate Michelman, detailed the tragedy of a family that, despite possessing adequate insurance coverage, has nevertheless been pushed to the brink of destruction.” Her young adult daughter was paralyzed when a horse fell on her; her husband, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, was then crippled and lost any hope of independence in the twilight of his life, after shattering his hip; and now the mounting medical bills keep on exacting a terrible toll – all this happens to a responsible couple who had seemingly prepared for health-related contingencies. How could this happen in America?” Osofsky asks. Michelman’s husband was placed in assisted living after surgeries and hospitalizations for his fractured hip. Ironically, the couple had thought to purchase private long-term care insurance years before their crisis, but although their insurance plan nominally covered long-term care, it did little to address her husband’s long-term care in respect to its actual costs. “How does one plan for a situation such as this? Kate Michelman certainly thought she and her husband had planned for every eventuality – she is a well-known and well-to-do public figure, he was a tenured college professor, they had excellent medical insurance, even long-term care insurance, and still it wasn’t enough,” Osofsky says, “They still found themselves on the brink of losing everything.”

According to Osofsky, Michelman’s story is frightening “precisely because it could happen, and is happening, to any of us.” The unfortunate truth about medical insurance, long-term care insurance, and Medicare/Medi-Cal for those who qualify, is that they often cover “most of the cost” of medical treatment and rehabilitative care. Asserts Osofsky, “Most is woefully lacking when we must face the awful reality of how high the costs actually are. Deductibles, co-payments, share of costs, and uncovered services have become a huge personal obligation, a black hole of debt where accumulated life savings can disappear in a heartbeat.” Is there a solution? The key is to enlist the help of committed experts who know how to navigate the convoluted worlds of the medical industry, insurance industry, and government benefit programs. Osofsky suggests “finding professionals who can help you build a plan to make the best use of those systems and what they offer.” But even that’s not a complete solution. Something needs to change. Concludes Osofsky, “Medical care in the United States has become a mountain of cost that even the young and the healthy ignore at their own risk.”

To learn more about East Bay elder law lawyers, East Bay elder law attorney, Medi-Cal planning, Medi-Cal planning lawyers and The Law Offices of Osofsky & Osofsky, visit Lawyerforseniors.com.

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