Lastly, a quick word about the road ahead for healthcare reform.
Now that reform has been enacted, our role as an organization centers on three critical goals: helping our members understand the bill so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families, helping members who are eligible for benefits access them, and monitoring how the federal and state governments, as well as insurance companies, implement the new law to ensure our members, and all older Americans, are best protected.
AARP is now front and center in providing web-based and print resources at all levels that can help people understand the new healthcare law so they and their families can make the best decisions. As well, AARP will monitor how the government and insurance companies implement the law through AARP.Org/GovernmentWatch.
In short, we want to reinforce the key outcomes of the legislation: strengthening Medicare, making insurance affordable for Americans 50+, holding insurance providers accountable and ensuring fairness for patients, and giving Americans and their loved ones more choices to live independently at home as they age.
The new law means, among other things:
That if you have Medicare, your guaranteed benefits are protected, period;
That prevention just got cheaper; free preventive and wellness benefits have been added to Medicare, including annual checkups, tests, colonoscopies, mammograms, and bone density screenings – no co-pay, no deductable;
That If you are don’t have insurance, buy your own coverage, or own a small business you will now have access to health insurance via ones-stop shop “exchanges;”
That if you have a medical condition or develop one, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny you coverage, drop you, or price you out of coverage;
And that if you have long-term care needs, new services, insurance benefits, and resources will be available to you.
In short, the new healthcare law makes life better for you in a myriad of ways, and it makes it easier to lead a life of health and wellness.
There’s a lot of good information out there if you seek it out. AARP is working hard to provide it for you, so I invite you to visit www.aarp.org/getthefacts.
In closing, I would suggest that it is impossible to resist the Andrus worldview, one that calls on each one of us to rise to the challenge of “living up to our better selves, believing well of our fellow men and perhaps by doing so, [to] help create the good, to experiment, to explore, to change and to grow.” This makes so much sense to me. It resonates with who I strive to be in my own life – someone who tries at every turn to keep learning and keep giving back.
As well, there is enormous appeal in AARP’s dedication to a life of ageless balance. The word that springs to mind when I reflect on AARP’s upbeat approach to supporting its nearly 40 million members is “joy.” AARP has the joy thing down cold, and it shows up in each and every aspect of the balanced life AARP encourages members to pursue.
I was reading a short history of the Boulé prior to traveling here. I noted that the principal founder of the Boulé, Henry McKee Minton, had a vision somewhat similar to Dr. Andrus. As he reflected on what he hoped the Boulé would be, he wrote that it “should be a fraternity in the true sense of the word; one whose chief thought should be … to bind men of like qualities, tastes and attainments into a close and sacred union that they might know the best of one another.”
On that last part, AARP could not agree more.
Thank you all for your gracious attention. I wish you all the best for a successful conference!