Social Isolation: Detrimental to Older Adults’ Health and Costly to Medicare

July is Social Isolation Month at AARP. This month, we are calling attention to the millions of older adults across the nation who lack meaningful social contacts with family members, friends or neighbors.  Why the focus on isolation?  Because social isolation is associated with bad health consequences: For example, socially isolated older adults are more likely to have heart disease, infections, depression, and premature cognitive decline. What’s more, it significantly increases the risk of death  among older adults.  In fact, …

No, Medicare is Not Going Broke: Understanding the 2018 Medicare Trustees Report

The June 5 release of the Medicare Trustees Report has triggered alarm bell-style media headlines. Dozens of news reports about Medicare’s worsening financial outlook have painted a bleak picture—some bleaker than others, with one boldface headline announcing, “Medicare will go broke three years earlier than expected.” The “go broke” headline was referring to the report’s projection that the trust fund that pays for hospital services, called the Hospital Insurance (or Part A) trust fund, will be depleted in 2026, three …

As Medicare Rolls Out New Cards, Fraudsters Roll Out New Scams

If you are one of America’s 55 million Medicare beneficiaries (or, if someone in your life is), you need to know about a big, POSITIVE change coming. Starting this month, the U.S. government is mailing out new Medicare cards that have been redesigned to help prevent identity theft. New enrollees will be among the first to get the cards. Current enrollees will get theirs over the next year. The biggest change you’ll notice is that your Social Security number will …

New Diabetes Prevention Program Covered under Medicare Part B

Nearly half (48 percent) of U.S. adults ages 65 and older have pre-diabetes, meaning their blood sugar levels are high enough to put them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is associated with a host of health complications, including stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and even amputations of the legs and feet. What’s more, diabetes is costly. In 2013, diabetes cost the U.S. health system over $100 billion—more than the cost for many other chronic conditions like heart disease, …

Social Isolation: The Silent Killer that Costs Medicare Billions in Extra Spending

Last week the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) sponsored a Solutions Forum on Capitol Hill (view recording HERE)  that put the spotlight on groundbreaking research showing how much social isolation—lack of meaningful contacts with others—costs the Medicare program. In two separate panels, participants in the packed room heard from experts who discussed the global problem of social isolation—or lack of meaningful contacts with others—among older adults. Susan Reinhard, Senior Vice President at AARP kicked off the event with a compelling …

Even Higher Income-Related Premiums are Bad for Beneficiaries, and Bad for Medicare

The Medicare program requires higher-income individuals to contribute more toward the cost of the program than the general population. When enrolled in Medicare, people with incomes of $85,000 (or $170,000 for couples) pay higher premiums for Medicare Part B (doctors’, other health care professionals’, and outpatient services) and Part D (prescription drugs) coverage, including if they have a Medicare Advantage plan. Over time, the proportion of people with Medicare who pay higher premiums for Medicare Part B and Part D …