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Newsletter Article


Troubled Water: Aging Boomers Worrying About Their Health Coverage

According to the Fund report "Health Coverage for Aging Baby Boomers: Findings from The Commonwealth Fund Survey of Older Adults," over 60 percent of adults ages 50 to 64 who are working or have a working spouse have been diagnosed with at least one chronic health condition, such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, or hypertension. At the same time, baby boomers are coping with barriers to needed care resulting from unstable health insurance coverage and problems paying medical bills. One-fifth of older workers and their spouses are uninsured or had a time when they were uninsured since turning 50.

Combined, these difficulties translate into concerns for the future. Two-thirds of older adults in working families reported they are very or somewhat worried that they might not be able to afford needed medical care in the future.

When asked about their interest in potential solutions, 71 percent of survey respondents said they would be interested in special health accounts to cover expenses not covered by Medicare, while 72 percent expressed interest in enrolling in Medicare before age 65.

Fund senior program officer Sara Collins, the report's lead author, argues that "targeted investments . . . would help this age group remain productive members of the workforce throughout their working years and improve their chances of entering their retirement and the Medicare program in good health."

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