Shingles Vaccine May Be out of Reach for Some Medicare Beneficiaries

Introduction to Shingles Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful skin rash. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chicken pox. Once people recover from chicken pox, the virus remains in their body in an inactive state. In some people, it stays dormant; in others, the virus reactivates and causes shingles. The condition is most common in older adults and people with weakened immune systems. The most common complication of shingles is …

Uniform Definitions and Data Elements for Collecting Information About Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is an important public health problem that has negative consequences on the health and well-being of older adults and contributes to avoidable health spending. Studies have found that elder abuse leads to increased use of emergency room and in-patient hospital care, and estimates are that annual costs associated with such abuse are over $5.3 billion. The U.S. Administration on Aging defines elder abuse as any knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that …

Food Insecurity and Older Adults: What States Can Do to Help

En español | Food insecurity is a significant public health problem for older adults. In 2014, nearly 8 percent (3.47 million) of Americans age 65 and older were living in food insecure households, meaning they did not have balanced meals or enough to eat because they could not afford it. According to current estimates, the share of food-insecure older adults will increase 50 percent by 2025. Many low-income older adults who suffer from food insecurity are often forced to use …

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 …

Food Labeling Requirements Could Make Older Americans Rethink Dining Out

It’s no secret that older Americans’ waistlines are expanding. From 2004 to 2013, the proportion of adults ages 50 and older who were obese increased 21 percent, from 25 to 31 percent of the population*. Associated with chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, rising levels of obesity are taking a toll on individual health and quality of life, as well as health care costs. Among all age groups, obesity accounts for approximately 21 percent of all health spending. One contributor to …

Keep Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries From Falling Through the Cracks

The Affordable Care Act allows states to offer Medicaid to low-income adults who would not have qualified under previous law. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia offer this expanded coverage. Those who qualify will face higher cost-sharing requirements when they transition from Medicaid expansion coverage to Medicare, but some may be eligible for traditional Medicaid benefits or Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) that will help reduce their costs. >> Get your questions about the health law answered here. Medicare beneficiaries …