Almost half of older Ohioans who needed some type of legal help in the past three years gave up and did nothing about their problems because they didn’t think they could afford a lawyer, according to a survey of 12,000 Ohioans age 60 and older which was conducted by AARP in collaboration with Pro Seniors.
“The survey results reflect what we encounter daily on our legal hotline,” said Pro Seniors Executive Director Rhonda Moore. “We see a growing trend in the need for help with health care coverage along with consumer and housing issues.”
Analysis of survey data reveals that health care is the legal issue that most concerns older Ohioans. In fact, 85 percent of survey respondents expressed concern about finding and keeping affordable, quality health care coverage. Two thirds of older Ohioans who do not have health care coverage said it is because the cost is too high. Twenty percent who have health care coverage reported experiencing problems with their coverage, such as billing or payment disputes, being terminated from coverage, eligibility issues or problems with long-term care.
Personal consumer issues, such as credit cards, home loans and other debts, also generate a high level of concern among older Ohioans, with nearly 60 percent of survey respondents expressing anxiety about this topic. Moore observes the effects of these issues on clients served.
“Older adults can become overwhelmed with the complexity of getting problems solved, which negatively impacts their quality of life,” she said. “For many, Pro Seniors is the only legal resource available.”
Over 80 percent of the survey respondents worry about becoming a victim of a consumer fraud or scam. Almost 16 percent indicate they have been victimized by a consumer fraud or scam in the past three years.
With support from the Ohio State Bar and Cincinnati Bar Foundations, Pro Seniors’ statewide legal hotline provided free legal advice and information last year to more than 6,500 Ohio residents over age 60.
To make an appointment to speak with a legal hotline attorney by telephone, call 1-800-488-6070 or (513) 345-4160, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. Learn more about Pro Seniors at its Web site www.proseniors.org