A Profile of
Older Americans: 2007
and Health Care
In 2006, 39.0% of noninstitutionalized older persons assessed
their heath as excellent or very good (compared to 65.1% for persons aged
18-64). There was little difference between the sexes on this measure, but
African-Americans** (22.8%), older American Indians/Alaska Natives† (24.2%) and older Hispanics (28.4%) were less likely to rate their health as
excellent or very good than were older Whites** (40.9%) or older Asians† (34.9%). Most older persons have at least one chronic condition and many have
multiple conditions. Among the most frequently occurring conditions older
persons in 2004-2005 were: hypertension (48%), diagnosed arthritis (47%), all
types of heart disease (29%), any cancer (20%), diabetes (16%), and sinusitis
Over 64% reported in 2006 that they received an influenza
vaccination during the past 12 months and 57% reported that they had ever
received a pneumococcal vaccination. Almost 25% (of persons 60+) report
height/weight combinations that place them among the obese. Over 26% of persons
aged 65-74 and 17% of persons 75+ report that they engage in regular
leisure-time physical activity. Only 10.2% reported that they are current
smokers and only 4% reported excessive alcohol consumption. Only 2.0% reported
that they had experienced psychological distress during the past 30 days.
In 2005, over 13.2 million persons aged 65 and older were
discharged from short stay hospitals. This is a rate of 3,596 for every 10,000
persons aged 65+ which is over three times the comparable rate for persons of
all ages (which was 1,174 per 10,000). The average length of stay for persons
aged 65+ was 5.5 days; the comparable rate for persons of all ages was 4.8 days.
The average length of stay for older people has decreased by 6 days since 1980.
Older persons averaged more office visits with doctors in 2005: 6.5 office
visits for those aged 65-74 and 7.7 office visits for persons over 75 while
persons aged 45-65 averaged only 3.9 office visits during that year. In 2006,
over 96% of older persons reported that they did have a usual place to go for
medical care and only 2.3% said that they failed to obtain needed medical care
during the previous 12 months due to financial barriers.
In 2005 older consumers averaged $4,331 in out-of-pocket health
care expenditures, an increase of 57% since 1995. In contrast, the total
population spent considerably less, averaging $2,766 in out-of-pocket costs.
Older Americans spent 12.4% of their total expenditures on health, more than
twice the proportion spent by all consumers (5.7%). Health costs incurred on
average by older consumers in 2005 consisted of $2,617 (60%) for insurance, $887
(20%) for drugs, $663 (15.3%) for medical services, and $164 (4%) for medical
(Sources: Data releases from the websites of the
National Center for Health Statistics (including the Data Warehouse on
Trends in Health and Aging); from the Agency for Healthcare Research
and Quality, and from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website)
figures are from 2004 data.
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AoA - Statistics - A Profile of Older Americans
2007 - Health Insurance Coverage