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Survey: 20 percent of NJ seniors skipping essential medical care

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The survey uncovered disturbing demographic trends indicating low-income seniors in the state are avoiding medical attention at even higher rates.
The survey uncovered disturbing demographic trends indicating low-income seniors in the state are avoiding medical attention at even higher rates. - ()

Data from a newly released survey from health care company Clover Health reveals 20 percent of New Jersey seniors have not gotten the necessary medical care since they turned 60. The results, experts say, points to the need for affordable and accessible health care services in the state.

Clover Health has approximately 30,000 members in New Jersey.

In addition, the survey uncovered disturbing demographic trends indicating low-income seniors in the state are avoiding medical attention at even higher rates.

According to Clover’s survey, nationally, 18 percent of seniors said they had not gone to the doctor when experiencing a health issue, putting New Jersey behind the rest of the country.

“It is very concerning that 20 percent of New Jersey seniors reported not seeking medical care even when they felt they needed a doctor’s attention," said Dr. Kumar Dharmarajan, chief scientific officer for Clover Health, in a statement. “Older adults are particularly vulnerable to complications from chronic conditions and illnesses like the flu, making it crucial that Garden State seniors get the care they need this winter.”

Data from the survey also revealed that New Jersey seniors cited two main reasons for avoiding necessary medical care. Of those who skipped seeing a doctor, 40 percent said the high cost was the top deterrent, followed by 23 percent who said that they were not able to find a doctor they liked.

Twenty-two percent of female seniors skipped the doctor in spite of a health concern, compared with only 17 percent of men surveyed.

A total of 29 percent seniors with a household income less than $35,000 have not sought medical attention when they needed it and of those seniors who did not get a flu shot last season, 24 percent admitted to skipping the doctor when needing medical attention. 

The survey of 300 adults age 60 and older in New Jersey was conducted by Wakefield Research. The national survey was of 1,000 adults 60 and older.

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Anthony Vecchione

Anthony Vecchione covers health care for NJBIZ. You can contact him at: Avecchione@njbiz.com.

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