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Issue Briefs


Living Longer, Staying Well, Promoting Good Health for Older Women

Women are living longer than ever. A woman who is 65 today can, on average, expect to live another 19 years to age 84. Despite recognition of the essential role preventive care and healthy habits play in these later years, older women and their physicians often miss opportunities to promote good health.

Medicare, which provides basic health insurance coverage for those 65 and older, does include coverage of many preventive services. But cost-sharing for many covered services&#8212as well as uncovered services such as prescription drugs&#8212creates financial hardship for many older women, particularly those living on low incomes. This issue brief, based on a new analysis of The Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Women's Health, provides insight into the gaps in preventive care that currently exist and the disparities in access to care found between lower- and higher-income older women. It also suggests steps that can be taken to improve older women's health and quality of life.

Publication Details



Living Longer, Staying Well, Promoting Good Health for Older Women, Karen Scott Collins and Erin Strumpf, The Commonwealth Fund, September 2000