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 …

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 …

Older Adults Who Don’t Have Meaningful Relationships are Sicker—and Cost Medicare More

Elizabeth “Izzy” Barnett, 80, is a full-time caregiver for her husband, Bob, who has dementia. They have no children or family to help and Izzy has lost contact with friends because she is busy taking care of Bob. Izzy’s is not alone in this situation. Millions of older adults are socially isolated—in other words, they lack meaningful relationships with family and friends. Life circumstances—losing a spouse, friends, and loved ones, or retirement—put older adults at increased risk for isolation.   …

More Price Transparency Needed for Implantable Devices

Implantable devices, such as hip replacements and heart valves, are a central part of medical treatment today. Americans receive about 370,000 cardiac pacemakers and about 1 million total hip and knee replacements per year. Despite how common the use of implantable devices is, little information is publicly available on the prices paid for these devices in the United States. Limited information about prices and performance of many implantable devices has raised concerns that providers, consumers and insurers may be paying …