America's seniors are seeing improvements in clinical care but are facing significant economic barriers to better health, according to the key findings from United Health Foundation's fifth annual America's Health Rankings Senior Report. Accompanying the report is new survey data, released in partnership with the Alliance for Aging Research, highlighting risks of health savings shortfalls among current and future seniors and uncertainty about future health care savings needs.
The report finds continued notable improvements in care quality and outcomes since 2013, including:
Minnesota is the healthiest state for seniors, rising from fourth place last year, while Mississippi drops two spots to become the state with the greatest opportunity for improvement in senior health. Among rankings, the report found:
"Though clinical care for our nation's seniors is improving, new data in this report show that seniors are facing higher social and economic barriers that are putting their overall health at risk," said Rhonda Randall, D.O., senior adviser to United Health Foundation and chief medical officer and executive vice president, UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions. "Rising rates of obesity and food insecurity, especially when paired with the potential shortfalls in health care savings of many current and future seniors, underscore the need for action to help seniors live healthier lives."
"We are encouraged by the improving quality of care current seniors are receiving, yet more needs to be done to help prepare current and future older adults to meet the costs of this care," said Susan Peschin, MHS, president and CEO of Alliance for Aging Research. "We're grateful for the opportunity to partner with United Health Foundation to draw needed attention to this under-discussed aspect of senior health. We hope this report sparks conversation among seniors, family caregivers and advocates about ways to solve these ongoing affordability and cost-transparency challenges."
America's Health Rankings Senior Report, in its fifth annual edition,offers a comprehensive analysis of senior population health on a national and state-by-state basis across 34 measures of senior health. In commissioning the report, United Health Foundation seeks to promote discussion around the health of older Americans while driving communities, governments, stakeholders and individuals to take action to improve senior health.
Researchers draw data from more than a dozen government agencies and leading research organizations to create a focused, uniquely rich dataset for measuring senior health at the state level, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Labor, The Dartmouth Atlas Project, the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger and the Commonwealth Fund. For more information, visit www.AmericasHealthRankings.org.
"Preparing for Health Care Costs in Retirement: An America's Health Rankings® Issue Brief," released by United Health Foundation in collaboration with the Alliance for Aging Research, examines the degree to which current and future retirees are prepared to meet rising health care costs in retirement. The issue brief is based on a national survey of 1,997 retired seniors (age 65+) and non-retired adults (age 50-64), as well as a review of studies on recommended health care savings targets in retirement.
The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance was founded in 1986 in Washington, D.C., and has since become a valued advocacy organization and a respected influential voice with policymakers. For more information, please visit www.agingresearch.org.
Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health Foundation has committed nearly $358 million to programs and communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at www.unitedhealthgroup.com/SocialResponsibility or follow Facebook.com/UHGGives.