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Survey Reveals Attitudes About Health Care In Delaware

Armen Hareyan's picture

There appears to be overwhelming support for health care reform in the First State. Given that many Delawareans lack adequate health care coverage, AARP commissioned a survey to explore the views of Boomers age 50 to 64 in Delaware on the current state of health care in Delaware. The survey specifically gauged respondents' concerns about health care-related matters, and their opinions on prospective state reform.

The key survey findings show that controlling costs and improving access to health care are Delawareans' foremost concerns.

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Costs are rising faster than people can pay for them. Advancing medical technologies, and new and changing services and procedures all contribute to medical inflation. With many Delawareans lacking health insurance or subsidizing minimal coverage from employers or Medicare, access to a life-saving procedure or preventive measures to improve their health falls to the wayside.

According to the Delaware Health Care Commission, approximately 105,000 Delaware residents -- 13 percent of the state population -- were without health insurance in 2006. That means roughly one in seven Delawareans are uninsured. Although Delawareans are doing better than the nation as a whole in obtaining health insurance, the uninsured rate in the state has steadily increased over the past five years, raising concern among policymakers, residents, and specifically, AARP members. Notably, 60 percent of Delaware residents 50+ are members of AARP.

Private, employment-based healthcare coverage continues to be the single most popular means of coverage in the nation, with governmental programs like Medicare and Medicaid as another major source. However, coverage for the 50-64 year-old population presents a unique challenge. While many in this demographic are gainfully employed, those who may have retired early, been laid-off, suffered an illness, or are caring for a relative struggle to find ways to continue health care coverage for themselves and the families. Additionally, this boomer generation will soon reach full retirement. Will they maintain access to all the healthcare options necessary?

Consider this: the average American 2-person household under age 65 spends $514 per year on health care costs. After age 65, that number jumps to $2,308 -- and with decreased income. These numbers do not include the cost of prescription drugs.