How Has the Affordable Care Act Affected Americans Ages 50-64?

As we approach the end of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s third health insurance open enrollment period, it’s a good time to look at how the ACA has affected older Americans. The ACA aims to make health insurance more accessible and affordable for all Americans. Before the ACA, out-of-pocket costs were rising and health insurance access declining among adults ages 50-64, an age group not yet eligible for Medicare. To assess the ACA’s impact on those ages 50-64, the AARP …

Among Older African Americans, Depression Continues to Be Under-Detected and Undertreated

The good news is that appropriate treatment can help most older adults with depression. What’s more, Medicare has recently improved its coverage for people with mental disorders. It now covers a free annual depression screening, and beneficiaries no longer have to pay more for outpatient treatment of mental illnesses than they do for physical illnesses. In addition, Medicare’s prescription drug benefit covers essentially all antidepressants used to treat people with depression. Older African Americans’ Depression Is More Likely to Go …

Taking a Closer Look at Aging American Indians and Alaska Natives

I grew up next to the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington state and I remember how native elders were revered throughout the community.  At the annual powwow the elders shared their history through song and dance, and all generations sat together, joining in the chanting and drumming. Those memories rushed back this week, as AARP’s Public Policy Institute released its most recent report, “Lifelong Disparities among Older American Indians and Alaska Natives.” AARP, along with researchers from Western Carolina University …

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Financial Access to Dental Care among Medicare Beneficiaries: Something to Chew On

Good oral health is a vital part of general health and overall well-being. However, it requires the regular use of dental services. Yet many older adults are unable to afford the care they need to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Moreover, there are significant disparities in financial access to dental services among older adults. In 2014, twice as many older adults of color were unable to afford dental care in the past 12 months than their white counterparts (Chart). Multiple …

Three Simple Lifesaving Strategies for Good Health

Updated May 4, 2015 A recent survey conducted by AARP found that the top concern on the minds of African Americans over 50 is staying healthy. With that in mind, I want to spotlight health disparities in the black community and how we can stay healthier and live longer. According to the CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report — United States, 2013, here are some of the disparities: African American adults develop diabetes at twice the rate of white adults. African Americans …

Health Reform 2.0: Improving Health Literacy of Older Americans

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) increases access to health insurance coverage, establishes a minimum benefit package, makes coverage more affordable, and eliminates most cost sharing for recommended preventive services. Now it’s time to empower consumers to take advantage of these improvements. One way to achieve this goal is to increase basic health literacy. What is health literacy? Health literacy is the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services in order to make appropriate health decisions. Why …