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Money on their minds: Health-related costs top older adults' concerns for people their age, poll finds

From medical and dental care to medications, insurance and nursing homes, health-related costs weigh heavily on the minds of older Americans of all backgrounds, a new poll suggests.



Asked to rate their level of concern about 26 different health-related topics for people over 50 in their community, five of the six issues that the most people cited as very concerning involved health costs.


The sixth—financial scams and fraud—also had to do with money.


Those same six topics rose to the top no matter what age group, gender, race, ethnic group, region of the country, size of community, political ideology or income group older adults came from, according to new findings from the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging.


Overall, 56% of people over 50 say they're very concerned about the cost of medical care for older adults in their community.


An equal percentage say they're very concerned about the cost of home care, assisted living or long-term care, which the poll grouped together as one topic.


Nearly as many said they're very concerned about the cost of prescription medications (54%), about scams and fraud (53%) and about the cost of health insurance or Medicare (52%). Nearly half (45%) called the cost of dental care very concerning.


"In this election year, these findings offer a striking reminder of how much health care costs matter to older adults," said John Z. Ayanian, M.D., M.P.P., a health care researcher, U-M physician and director of U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, where the poll is based. The poll is supported by AARP and Michigan Medicine, U-M's academic medical center.


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