Sebelius Releases Report On Older Women Health Insurance

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Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will travel to Maine today and formally release a new report on the importance of health insurance reform for older women (ages 55-64) and senior women (ages 65 and older). In Maine, Sebelius will participate in a roundtable discussion in South Portland sponsored by AARP and the Maine Women's Lobby. Later, she will hear from Mainers who are struggling under the status quo at the University of Maine, Orono at a discussion sponsored by Maine Change that Works. The report Sebelius will formally release today, Strengthening the Health Insurance System: How Health Insurance Reform Will Help America's Older and Senior Women is available at HealthReform.gov.

"Our mothers and grandmothers have unique health needs and under the status quo, they aren't getting the quality, affordable care they deserve," said Sebelius. "Health insurance reform will strengthen health care for older women and senior women in Maine and across the country."

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The report released today identifies problems with the status quo for older women and senior women and proposed solutions in health insurance reform including:

Senior women spent on average 17 percent of their income on health care in 2005.i The growth in Medicare Part B premiums from 2000 to 2018 is predicted to cost seniors an additional $1,577 per year out-of-pocket. ii Health insurance reform will reduce overpayments to private plans and clamp down on fraud and abuse to lower premiums for all seniors and extend the life of the Medicare trust fund by 5 years. iii

One in five women aged 50 and above has not received a mammogram in the past two years. iv By ensuring that health plans cover preventive services for everyone, investing in prevention and wellness, and promoting primary care, health insurance reform will work to create a system that prevents illness and disease instead of just treating it when it's too late and costs more.

Written by Carla Daniels
HHS Press Office

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