Lynda Flowers is an AARP Public Policy Institute expert on Medicaid, health disparities and prevention/public health.

Something to Chew On: Highlights of Findings from an AARP Oral Health Survey of Older Americans

Oral health conditions—like untreated cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss—are not inevitable consequences of aging. Access to adequate dental care among older adults can prevent or delay these problems and may lead to overall improvements in health and well-being among seniors. A robust body of literature—including a seminal report by the U.S. Surgeon General—finds a clear connection between oral health and physical health, including health conditions that are prevalent among older adults—like diabetes and heart disease. Yet, many older adults …

Work Requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky Blocked by Federal Court

On March 27, 2019, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued decisions that are vitally important for Medicaid beneficiaries. The two cases, Gresham v. Azar and Stewart v. Azar, halted efforts in Arkansas and Kentucky to condition receipt of Medicaid benefits on securing work or volunteer activities, as well as other cuts to coverage. The court’s rulings reinforced an earlier decision against Kentucky’s work requirement and extended a similar reasoning to the Arkansas …

What Consumers Should Know about Medicaid

Medicaid is a crucial program for millions of people. But not everyone understands who’s eligible and the benefits; moreover, the program continues to evolve. Here’s what you and all consumers should know. Medicaid is the Nation’s Largest Public Health Insurance Program.  Medicaid provides access to critical health and long-term services and supports (commonly called LTSS or long-term care) for nearly 68 million children, parents, low-income adults, older adults and people with disabilities. Medicaid covers prenatal care for millions of women …

Arkansas Work Requirement Leaves Thousands Without Health Insurance Coverage

Earlier this year, Arkansas became the first state to implement a  policy that—with some exemptions, including for people age 50 and older—requires adult Medicaid enrollees to work 80 hours every month at the state’s minimum wage. The policy has serious implementation problems, and is quickly ncreasing the number of uninsured in the state. In Compliance or Not—That is the Question Much of the issue stems around exemptions, compliance, and reporting requirements. In addition to working 80 hours every month, enrollees …

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, …

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, …