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Healthcare Choices Narrow For Kentuckians In Medicare Advantage

Louisville - With open enrollment underway, older Americans are getting barraged with television ads, mailings and online notices hawking a variety of Medicare Advantage plans for health coverage. But many Kentuckians, including thousands of state retirees, are largely captive customers with such plans selected by their employer as part of health coverage promised for those 65 or older — an increasingly popular means to cover retirees. And members of such plans may have fewer choices for care because of ongoing contract disputes between Baptist Health and three national companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans in Kentucky including Louisville-based Humana, which covers most state retirees.

Many Senior Citizens Expect To Die With College Loan Debts

Marjorie Sener was still in her 20s when she took out a loan for about $5,000 to get some college credits she hoped would eventually add up to a bachelor’s degree. That goal was thwarted when her partner became ill. “The burden of our living expenses fell on me,” said Sener, who lives in the Dallas suburbs. “I devoted all of my resources to keeping our heads above water.” But while Sener never got her degree, that student loan kept growing, fattened by compounding interest. Now, at 74, she owes more than $55,000, or 10 times what she originally borrowed, and has put off any hope of retiring. Sener still works, as a legal secretary, juggling her student loan debt with other expenses, including medical costs from recent cancer treatments.

Swiss Seniors Are Suing Over Climate Change’s Threat To Their Health

A group of senior women from Switzerland are suing their government over its climate change inaction, alleging the country’s climate policies violate their human rights and health. KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz, a Greenpeace-backed group of 2,400 women ages 64 and older, filed a lawsuit that was heard in Europe’s top human rights court in March. Now, with the court’s decision pending, the recent extreme temperatures in Europe have called attention to the activists’ claims once again, reports the New York Times’ Isabella Kwai. Last summer, for example, a heat wave killed 61,000 people across the continent.

More Older Workers Are Trapped In Crummy Jobs, Unable To Retire

Over the past two decades, older workers have become an increasingly significant share of the labor force. In the economic recovery after the Great Recession of 2008–2009, four in 10 Americans ages 55 or older were in the labor force—the highest participation rate in half a century. As of 2020, these older workers made up 23.6% of the total U.S. workforce, the highest portion on record. Why are so many older Americans unable to retire and so many working into old age to survive? For many, the answer isn’t “because they want to.” Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 50% of low-income older households ages 55–64 were financially fragile—up dramatically from the 35% at risk in 1992.

Medicare Advantage Is Not An Advantage For Seniors With Cancer

When America’s seniors enroll in Medicare, they enter the most medically vulnerable stretch of their lives. And if they are unfortunate enough to be among the 1.9 million Americans each year who hear the terrifying words “you have cancer,” it is imperative they have access to the support and care they need to survive. About 60 percent of cancers occur in people ages 65 or older, accounting for approximately 70 percent of all deaths caused by the disease. But as recently diagnosed cancer patients embark on this unwanted, unexpected care journey, what many seniors do not realize is that their Medicare Advantage (MA) plan can often put them at a disadvantage by restricting access to the care they need and deserve.
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