Health insurance costs a concern for seniors
A recent AARP survey of people 50 and older revealed that just 38 percent said they had all the health insurance coverage they need, and 92 percent said health insurance was extremely important to them.
Ray Landis, advocacy manager for the AARP in Pennsylvania, said health insurance costs remain a critical concern in the state. While many seniors are considered part of a vulnerable population for health and financial and other issues, they continue to make up a larger percentage of the population in Pennsylvania. About 15.6 percent of the state's 12.7 million people are 65 and older, according to census figures.
According to AARP, 40 percent of the state's seniors would have incomes below the poverty line if they did not receive Social Security. For a single adult 65 or older, the poverty threshold is $10,485, and $14,602 for two adults.
"A lot of Pennsylvania seniors are struggling," Landis said. "Seniors here aren't in the same financial situation that seniors in other places are in."
Many seniors employed in the 1970s through the 1990s worked for companies that provided good retirement benefits but reneged when the company went bankrupt, Landis said. Another factor, many of Pennsylvania's seniors are blue-collar and native to the state, unlike states like Arizona and Florida, where large segments of the aging population are affluent and relocated after retirement.
Along with providing free preventive care for seniors, the Affordable Care Act eliminates the "doughnut hole" gap for Medicare prescription drug coverage. The law also provides access to care for those previously uninsured because of pre-existing conditions and guarantees existing Medicare-covered benefits.
"Elimination of pre-existing conditions is very important," Landis said. "When you reach the early 60s, odds are you have a preexisting condition."
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