People 50 to 64 taking a hit on health coverage

February 28, 2012

Career and employment, Health, Seniors

Seven of 10 people in this age group have at least one chronic health condition.

by David Mitchell — 

People ages 50 to 64 are taking a hard hit in these times of shrinking employer-sponsored health coverage. In fact, they have become the fastest growing group of uninsured. The rate at which they are losing coverage is alarming: 36 percent between 2000 and 2009.

As more people in this age group are losing jobs with employer-sponsored health care, they are finding it difficult to get affordable individual coverage — in large part because health insurers consider age and pre-existing conditions when setting their rates. Seven of 10 people in this age group have at least one chronic health condition.

Insurance industry data shows that insurers reject between 17 and 28 percent of all applications from people ages 50 to 64. And those lucky enough to find coverage pay premiums that average three times more than those of the same age with employer coverage. Out-of-pocket spending is also more than twice that of those with employer coverage, despite less generous benefits.

AARP is pressing Congress to find a common-sense solution to the coverage gap for people in this age group. For information on ways you can help, check out AARP’s new Web page at www.healthactionnow.org.

 

David Mitchell is the Arizona state director for AARP. 866-389-5649 or www.aarp.org.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number  3, Jun/July 2009.

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