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Savings Expected from Slowdown in Medicare Spending

February 24, 2015 Comments off

Savings Expected from Slowdown in Medicare Spending
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute

Medicare growth rates have remained low since 2009, indicating that mid-term and long-range Medicare spending will be dramatically lower than expected just 5 years ago.

Experts believe that the slowdown in Medicare spending is due to a combination of factors, including health care reforms brought about by the Affordable Care Act, slower growth in new technologies, and the recession.

Monitoring the Impact of Health Reform on Americans 50-64: Use of Insurance Marketplaces

January 9, 2015 Comments off

Monitoring the Impact of Health Reform on Americans 50-64: Use of Insurance Marketplaces
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute

AARP’s Public Policy Institute collaborated with the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey to learn about the experience of Americans ages 50-64 in the initial phase of implementation of health coverage reforms. This series of papers presents findings from surveys during the first open enrollment period.

The survey showed that awareness of new health insurance Marketplaces was strong overall. Most of those who already had insurance expected they would continue to get coverage from the same source in 2014. The uninsured had mixed expectations about getting coverage. Interest in using the Marketplaces was highest among the uninsured and those with nongroup coverage, and among those with income levels which would qualify for subsidies or Medicaid. But more than two in five of the uninsured did not expect to gain coverage.

Use of the Marketplaces varied widely by insurance status and income. The main reason the uninsured used the Marketplace was to find out if they were eligible for subsidies or Medicaid. While many with nongroup insurance were also interested in finding out if they were eligible for subsidies or Medicaid, the most common reason they gave for using the Marketplace was to compare their current health plan with Marketplace plans. There were differences in how people accessed information about health insurance in the Marketplace by education, income, and ethnicity.

Driver Preparedness: A 2014 Survey of Drivers Age 30+

December 2, 2014 Comments off

Driver Preparedness: A 2014 Survey of Drivers Age 30+
Source: AARP Research

Key findings include:

  • In general, drivers age 30 and older (98%) feel prepared before taking a car trip of 50 miles or more, with 84% feeling very prepared and 14% feeling somewhat prepared.
  • Likewise, drivers report ensuring their vehicle is prepared before taking a trip of 50 miles or more. Specifically, roughly eight-in-ten report always ensuring their mirrors are adjusted properly (89%), checking dashboard warning lights and addressing any related problems (84%) and ensuring their vehicle is up to date on its recommended services (80%). A majority of drivers also report always checking that their headlights are working (64%), checking the oil level in their car (57%), checking their windshield wipers (53%), and checking their tire pressure (51%).
  • In general, the extent to which drivers engage in vehicle preparation increases with age. For example, older drivers (age 50+) are particularly likely to always ensure their mirrors are adjusted properly, ensure their vehicle is up-to-date on recommended services, check that their windshield wipers are in good condition, and check their tire pressure.
  • Drivers also engage in a variety of planning behaviors, at least sometimes, before taking a trip of 50 miles or more. A majority of drivers report always telling someone when they expect to arrive at their destination (62%), and planning to avoid rush hour traffic (54%). Over four-in-ten report always packing food or planning where to eat (44%), while 38 percent report sometimes doing this. Additionally, a third say they always plan where they will stop to rest (30%), while roughly four-in-ten (38%) say they sometimes do this.
  • Drivers generally engage in the vehicle preparation measures more often than the planning measures tested in the survey. For example, while 80% always make sure their vehicle is up-to-date on services, only 26% always plan to avoid driving in dimly-lit conditions.
  • In general, the frequency in which drivers plan to avoid potentially challenging or risky driving situations increases with age. For example, older drivers, particularly those age 65 and older, were more likely than their younger counterparts to always make alternative plans for bad weather, plan to avoid driving in dimly-lit conditions, choose a route that avoids confusing intersections, and choose a route that avoids high speed roads.
  • Drivers understand the importance of having certain safety items in their car when taking trips. For example, over nine-in-ten say that a spare tire (98%), a cell phone (96%), and cash (92%) are important items to have in their car. Furthermore, drivers report typically having these items in their car when taking a trip. For example, over nine-in-ten report typically having a spare tire (99%), a cell phone (96%), and cash (92%) in their car. However, in some cases, there is a discrepancy between the percentage of drivers who believe an item is important and the percentage of drivers who typically have the item in their car. Most notably, seven-in-ten respondents believe flares, warning triangles and reflectors are important, while only 37 percent say they typically have them in their car.
  • Perhaps in part due to the preparation and planning behaviors drivers already engage in, most drivers do not worry about potential challenges they may face, such as getting lost or their car breaking down. A majority of drivers, however, do worry about adverse weather conditions.
  • Roughly half of drivers (54%) typically use a navigation system when taking a trip of 50 miles or more. Although the use of navigation systems decreases with age, four-in-ten drivers age 65+ typically use the device when taking trips.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of adults belong to a roadside assistance program. This figure increases with age, with eight-in-ten drivers age 65+ (77%) belonging to a program. Drivers also report having the phone number of the roadside assistance program readily available when traveling in their car.
  • The overwhelming majority of drivers say that they know how to change a tire (80%) and jump-start a car (81%).
Categories: AARP, motor vehicles, safety

Identity Theft: Who’s At Risk?

October 27, 2014 Comments off

Identity Theft: Who’s At Risk?
Source: AARP Research

This AARP Fraud Watch Network study aimed to assess Americans’ habits around protecting their personal and financial information. Overall, the study finds that many are not taking precautions necessary to reduce their risk of identity theft.

A Sense of Déjà Vu: The Debate Surrounding State Biosimilar Substitution Laws

September 23, 2014 Comments off

A Sense of Déjà Vu: The Debate Surrounding State Biosimilar Substitution Laws
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute

The Affordable Care Act created an approval pathway for less expensive generic versions of biologic drugs, known as biosimilars, or follow-on biologics. This Insight on the Issues discusses controversial new state legislation that could greatly limit the savings from biosimilars and notes similarities to the debate ignited by the passage of federal legislation that encouraged the development of traditional generic drugs.

Work and Health Insurance for 50- to 64-Year Olds

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Work and Health Insurance for 50- to 64-Year Olds
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute

Work is a critical gateway to health insurance. Nearly two-thirds of 50- to 64-year olds had employer-sponsored health insurance in 2012 . But working is not a guarantee of employer-sponsored health insurance. Part-time workers and the self-employed are much less likely than full-time workers to have insurance through their employment. Getting coverage as a dependent on a family member’s employer plan plays an important role for some workers and nonworkers. Health reform offers new coverage options to workers and others who do not have access to coverage through work.

This Fact Sheet discusses the prevalence of employer coverage among 50- to 64-year-olds overall and by work status as of 2012, and new options for coverage.

Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care to People with Cognitive and Behavioral Health Conditions

August 28, 2014 Comments off

Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care to People with Cognitive and Behavioral Health Conditions
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute

Family caregiving is difficult and stressful. Providing care and support to people with cognitive or behavioral health conditions is doubly challenging. This paper reports on results from a national survey showing that caregivers of family members with challenging behaviors were more likely to perform more than one medical/nursing task, such as managing medications, and often do so with resistance from the person they are trying to help. Yet they receive little or no instruction or guidance on how to do this important work. This analysis offers recommendations for assisting family caregivers who play this dual role.

This is the third “Insight on the Issues” series, drawn from additional analysis of data based on a December 2011 national survey of 1,677 family caregivers, 22 percent of whom were caring for someone with one or more challenging behaviors. Earlier findings were published in the groundbreaking Public Policy Institute/United Hospital Fund report Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care.
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