Seniors

The percentage of seniors 65 years old or older who fall below the national poverty level.
The percentage of seniors 65 years old or older who fall below the national poverty level.  

Related "Issue of the Day" Entries

Seniors Feeling Vulnerable with Projected COLA Results
Published Thursday, May 21st, 2009

In the last week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) is projected to not increase Social Security benefits in the coming years. There has been an increase in benefits every year for 30 years. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the E-CPI (Experimental-Consumer Price Index) weights medical care and shelter more heavily for those aged 62 and older. The regular CPI states that, in 25 years, inflation has risen 3%, yet the E-CPI has risen 3.3% for older Americans. According to the law, Social Security Benefits cannot outpace inflation except when prices fall. When deflation exists, the COLAs remain steady at zero and actually purchase power goes up. In 2008, the rise of energy prices resulted in a 5.8% COLA to compensate in 2009, yet the energy prices dropped and the CBO projects inflation will be below 2008 levels for some years. However, many older Americans believe that no COLA means they are left behind and will suffer.

Poverty for older adults as of 2007 has reduced from a decade ago, yet the disparity between males and females still exist as females are twice more likely to experience poverty than males. Yet, those houses with elderly present have begun to rely more on the food stamp program in recent years. Plus, the retirement rate has slowed and more elderly are reentering the workforce. This comes as Social Security Benefits have steadily risen, especially with the recent rise in energy prices. On the medical side, life expectancy has risen; the percentage of those who take prescriptions is up 13.7%; many more are enrolling in the Medicare program; and expenditures for nurses and retirement homes have risen to $138 billion.

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Medicare Outpatient Fees
Published Monday, September 22nd, 2008

As reported by WebMD, for the sixth time in Medicare’s 40+ year history, the program will not increase its Part-B, out-of-pocket expenses for doctor visits and out-patient services; however, premiums and deductibles for hospitals will increase. The Medicare Part-B one time deductible amount totals $135. The AARP said that although retirees can “breathe a sigh of relief,” “the average 73-year-old in Medicare has seen his or her premium double since joining the program.”

By law, the Medicare Part-B accounts for one-third of the cost of the program. Thus, when doctor’s fees and equipment expenses go up, so goes the retiree’s fee. In 2009, physicians fees are to rise 1.2%, but the surplus in the Medicare program will probably allow for the fees to remain steady.

However, with Social Security not keeping up with inflation and seniors increasingly at risk of falling into poverty with recent cost of living increases, seniors will have trouble just paying the part-B of Medicare. Plus, as disbursements for Medicare for both doctor and hospital visits rise, there will have to be an adjustment in the overall system for it to maintain its original mandate of access to modern medicine and protection against the high costs of medical care.

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Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging - http://www.aoa.gov/
AoA is the Federal focal point and advocate agency for older persons and their concerns. In this role, AoA works to heighten awareness among other Federal agencies, organizations, groups, and the public about the valuable contributions that older Americans make to the Nation and alerts them to the needs of vulnerable older people. Through information and referral and outreach efforts at the community level, AoA seeks to educate older people and their caregivers about the benefits and services available to help them.

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USA.gov: Seniors - http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Seniors.shtml
Official information and services from the U.S. government regarding all aspects of seniors' lives.