Elders & poverty


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These are some facts about poverty among the elderly and the implications for health care in the US.

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Elders & poverty

  1. 1. Old Age & Poverty in the US:Implications<br />US Healthcare Landscapes<br />April 2011<br />Suffolk University<br />Guest Lecturer: Diane D’Souza<br />
  2. 2. Persons living in poverty are more likely to experience poor health and have problems paying for care.<br />
  3. 3. Who are the poor?<br />More than 6 in 10 of older persons in poverty or at risk of falling into poverty are women.<br />Almost one-fifth (19%) of older African-Americans are living in poverty compared to 6.5% of older Whites.<br />Almost one-quarter (24%) of African-Americans and 27% of Hispanics age 50+ are at risk of falling into poverty.<br />
  4. 4. Poverty affects your health<br />The presence of risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension are significantly higher among persons age 50+ living in poverty or at risk of poverty than for persons age 50+ with incomes at or above 200 percent of poverty.<br />Those living in poverty and at risk of poverty also exercise less and undergo less frequent screenings (mammograms and colonoscopies) for early detection of diseases than those with higher incomes.<br />
  5. 5. People in Poverty Feel Less Well<br />Persons age 50+ living in poverty are almost four times as likely as those living at twice the poverty level to categorize their health as poor rather than excellent.<br />41% indicated they experienced poor health more than a week in the past 30 days.<br />
  6. 6. How do poor elders pay for health care?<br />In 2006, only 64.7% of persons age 50 to 64 living in poverty had any public (Medicaid) or private health insurance coverage.<br />People living in poverty or at risk of poverty spend a higher portion of their average annual expenditures on health care (10% and 12% respectively) than people age 50+ with incomes at or above 200% of poverty (8%).<br />Medicaid is very important for persons age 50 to 64 living in poverty. African-Americans and Hispanics rely on Medicaid at twice or more the rate of Whites.<br />
  7. 7. “I can’t afford…”<br />Almost one-quarter of persons age 50+ living in poverty said they could not see a doctor within the last 12 months because of cost.<br />15% of persons age 50+ who are “at-risk” could not see a doctor because of cost.<br />
  8. 8. Poverty has a Cost for Everyone<br />Older persons living in poverty rely heavily on public benefits such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, public housing, and food stamps, particularly among the group age 50 to 64.<br />
  9. 9. Why is Social Security Important? <br />The poverty rate for persons age 65+ would have increased from 9.4% to 44.9% in 2006 without Social Security.<br />
  10. 10. Source: POVERTY & AGING IN AMERICA: Profiles of the Low-Income Older Population, 2008 Chart Book. AARP Public Policy Institute. <br />