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Aging Today: Some Questions About Health – Fact Sheet

compiled by Betty Cohen

June 2012—Older adults today will live longer than those of previous generations, and a greater proportion of older adults rate their overall health status as good to excellent. But while death rates from many of the major health concerns of the past have declined, death rates for others have increased, as has the prevalence of many chronic health problems. Health conditions are a frequent cause of early retirement, which may result in loss of health insurance coverage. Fewer adults will have access to employer-sponsored retiree health insurance in the future, while the future costs and coverage of publicly-funded health insurance for older adults are uncertain.

Facts include:

  • "U.S. life expectancy has increased from 68.9 years in 1950 to 79.2 years in 2009, in large part due to the reduction in mortality at older ages," according to a 2011 report from the Population Reference Bureau."
  • Among persons aged 55-64 who were not working in 2004, 32.4% reported chronic illness or disability as the reason for not working, while 42.8% reported that they were retired. Among those 65 and over who were not working, 85.9% reported that they were retired, compared to 7.4% who said they were not working because of a chronic illness or disability, according to a 2007 Census Bureau report.

» Find more facts in the Fact Sheet: Aging Today: Some Questions About Health

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