Many Hospitals Charging 10 Times More Than Actual Costs

Data recently released by the nation’s largest nurses organization stated that hospital costs are on the rise, and hospitals are overcharging many Americans. The data suggests that some hospitals are charging more than ten times the amount of cost for care, approximately $1,200 to every $100 of their actual care costs. Jean Ross, RN, co-president of National Nurses United said, “such inflated practices continue to price far too many Americans out of access to needed medical care or expose them to financial ruin. It’s long past time to rein in the price gouging, and recognize that a healthcare system based on profiteering puts all of us at risk.” More here

ACA Helps Many Afford Cancer Treatment and Screenings

Cancer patients are living longer according to new data, and cancer treatment costs are increasing. In 2010, the average total cost for cancer treatment in the U.S. jumped to $125 billion. The Affordable Care act is helping to provide many low-income Americans with the ability to afford various cancer screenings to help prevent the disease from spreading. A common fear among those diagnosed with cancer is losing health care coverage if they can no longer work due to illness. The ACA will be able to provide affordable health care to those with cancer who have lost their jobs and health insurance, or do not have the funds to afford treatment. More here

Spinal Cord Injuries Increase Among Seniors

Research conducted at Johns Hopkins has found that the number of spinal injuries have increased among older adults. The study found that 41.5% of traumatic spinal cord injuries in the U.S. are caused by senior falls while only 35.5% of spinal cord injuries are due to motor vehicle accidents. Spinal cord injuries are a particularly serious health concern, on which many doctors urge seniors to exercise caution. According to research, these injuries are also causing a financial burden on the health care system. Between the years of 2007 and 2009, costs for emergency room visits for spinal cord injuries averaged around $1.6 billion in the U.S. More here

Staying Positive May Increase Drug Effectiveness

Researchers have found that having a positive outlook on life can do more than make you happy, it can possibly make your medications work better. A study from Harvard Medical School found that people who took pain medications reacted differently based on the introduction of the drug. Drugs that were introduced positively had 30% more pain relief than drugs that had no introduction or were poorly introduced, even if the drug introduced was a placebo. While being positive about your medications can help, doctors are not advising people to solely depend on positivity as many medications are needed for intense pain and treatment of various illnesses. More here

Many Older Americans In Mortgage Debt

Boston College for Retirement Research found through a recent study that many older Americans are deciding to work longer and put off retirement due to large debt, particularly caused by mortgages. For those Americans who cannot continue to work because of disability or health problems, experts say that reverse mortgages may be a financial lifesaver. Researchers, Barbara Butrica and Nadia Karamcheva said, “Americans’ indebtedness has increased dramatically since the 1980s—a trend likely to have important implications for retirement security, not only does the presence of debt influence older adults’ behavior, but so do the amount and type of debt—particularly outstanding mortgages.” According to experts the three main options senior Americans have to help decrease debt by mortgage are to sell the home, declare bankruptcy or apply for a reverse mortgage. More here

Social Security Announces New Compassionate Allowances

Social Security announced that they have added additional Compassionate Allowances for certain serious health conditions, in order to help many senior citizens to afford specific health care. The program added twenty five new conditions to its Compassionate Allowances bringing the total number of conditions to 225. The program works to expedite benefit decisions for seniors or people with disabilities, helping them to receive and afford speedy care. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security said, “we are dedicated to providing vulnerable Americans with faster access to disability benefits through our Compassionate Allowances program. Social Security disability benefits are a vital lifeline for individuals who are facing severe diseases, and we must ensure that they receive the benefits they rightly deserve.” More here

Study Suggests That Being Inactive May Alter The Brain

A new study recently published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology states that physical activity and lack of physical activity may play a crucial role in how the brain behaves. The study was conducted on two groups of mice over a 12 week period. One group was active while the other was inactive. The study found that the active group had maintained healthy brain and heart function while the inactive group had grown branches on brain neurons that would eventually lead to heart problems. Experts advise people to stay active at every age in order to maintain a healthy physical and physiological body. More here

Walking Speed May Play Role In Life Span

A recently released study states that seniors who walk at a faster speed and enjoy doing daily activities may have better physical function and possibly live longer than those who do not. The research states that these seniors are likely to live an additional eight years and suggests that walking speed may have a direct correlation with life span. Dr. Andrew Steptoe, UCL said, “the study shows that older people who are happier and enjoy life more show slower declines in physical function as they age. They are less likely to develop impairments in activities of daily living such as dressing or getting in or out of bed, and their walking speed declines at a slower rate than those who enjoy life less.” More here

Reverse Mortgages Gain Positive Attention

In the past, reverse mortgages may not have been considered a good idea by many, but as the program grows and continues to improve, the option of a reverse mortgage is becoming more appealing. Amy Hoak, a MarketWatch columnist said, “as people live longer due to medical advances, more of them may need to get at their home equity to pay for their medical costs. Also relevant is that many Americans near retirement age have a considerable amount of wealth in housing equity; 25% of all wealth was held in the form of home equity in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”  The program has helped many struggling seniors stay in their homes through financial hardship. Experts advise that all seniors who are considering a reverse mortgage be educated on the program. More here

New Combination Of Drugs Used To Treat Advanced Melanoma

A new mixture of drugs that may help treat advanced melanoma has been approved by the FDA. Advanced melanoma is usually found in older adults who range from ages 55 to 64, with death rates being the highest between ages 74 and 84. 76% of individuals with melanoma, treated with the mixture of the drugs Mekinist (trametinib) and Tafinlar (dabrafenib) in a study, saw signs of their tumor(s) shrinking. More here