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 …

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.   …

Changing Medicare into a “Premium Support” Program Would Reduce—Not Increase—Choices for Individuals

The budget blueprint recently passed by the House proposes to redesign Medicare—the program that nearly all Americans ages 65 and older and millions of younger people with disabilities rely on for health coverage. The proposal would transform Medicare into what’s termed a “premium support” or “voucher” program. This change would have a huge impact on people with Medicare today and in the future. Premium support would be a dramatic change from the current Medicare design. Today, if you want to …

The American Health Care Act Would Make Unsustainable Cuts to Medicaid

Recent policy conversations related to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) have focused on  proposals that would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s critical protection for people with preexisting conditions. This  controversial proposal has drawn a lot of attention for good reason. Eliminating this important protection, which keeps insurance companies in the individual (non-group) market from considering health status when making coverage decisions, could hurt millions — especially older adults who tend to develop more health conditions as they age. But …

Protecting Medicaid’s Promise

With the start of the new Congress and new Administration, health care policy is on the front burner in Washington. The future is very uncertain, and the stakes are high. Health care touches all of us and affects nearly 20% of the U.S. economy. AARP is very focused on making sure any health care reforms protect older Americans and their families, particularly from rising costs that push many to the brink. We are especially concerned about plans for Medicaid, which …