Today, it’s more important than ever for you to be informed about your healthcare rights and options and have the knowledge and know-how to navigate through this complicated system. Knowing your healthcare rights and options means that you have a much better chance of getting the medical care that you need. Studies have shown that patients who speak up to complain and demand better care actually do get better care. They also recover faster.
Knowledge about healthcare rights is particularly important for older women. Older women seek medical care more often than men or younger women. They are more likely to have chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, which require ongoing medical care, and are more likely to use prescription medications on a regular basis.
Older women are also more vulnerable to the high costs of health care. They are more likely than men to be unemployed, employed part-time or work in jobs that lack healthcare benefits. Women who are financially dependent on their spouses are also vulnerable to losing their health benefits due to separation, divorce, their spouse’s retirement, or their spouse’s death. With lower incomes in retirement, older women find healthcare costs eating up a larger percentage of their limited incomes.
In addition, older women not only need to make important healthcare decisions for themselves, but they are often also responsible for caring for and making healthcare decisions for other family members. One in 10 women must care for a sick or aging relative. Many others provide primary care for children. In fact, women caregivers are likely to spend 12 years out of the workforce raising children and caring for older family members. Therefore, older women need to know about healthcare rights and options not only for themselves but also in their role as primary caregivers to other family members.
To learn more, download a copy of CWLC’s Older Women’s Health Resource Guide.
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