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Illinois State Fact Sheet

AARP is proud to represent and serve 1,656,295 AARP members age 50+ in the state.

For 50 years, AARP has had one mission:  making life better for older Americans. AARP was created after its founder discovered a retired teacher in poor health living in a chicken coop, unable to afford medical care and with barely enough money to live on. Since then, AARP has been fighting for health and financial security for all Americans.

In 2010, AARP Illinois will be working with legislators from both parties to protect lifeline programs that provide seniors with food, health care and other necessities from deep budget cuts.  We will also be working to strengthen state laws to prevent banks and credit card companies from taking advantage of older Americans and to protect consumers from unfair utility hikes.

Age 50+ voters: 70 percent of Illinoisans age 50+ voted in the 2008 election, sending a clear message that it’s time for elected officials from both sides of the aisle to come together to solve our nation’s problems.

AARP:  Working To Improve the Lives of All Illinoisans

Strengthening Social Security:  We are fighting to strengthen Social Security for current and future generations by:

  • Providing relief for 1,791,682 who won’t receive a cost of living increase (COLA) this year.

Protecting Medicare:  We are fighting to protect guaranteed benefits for the 1,769,546 Illinoisans who receive their health care through Medicare.

Improving Health Care:  We are fighting to stop insurance abuses and protect the Medicare benefits seniors have earned by:

  • Lowering drug costs for 636,984 seniors by closing the Medicare Part D coverage gap or “doughnut hole.”
  • Preventing insurance companies from denying affordable coverage to up to 273,000 Illinoisans age 50-64 based on age or pre-existing condition.
  • Expanding access to home and community-based services through Medicaid – the largest payer of long-term services and supports – which, in 2007, spent only 23 percent of long-term care dollars in on home and community based-services for older adults and adults with physical disabilities and 77 percent on institutional care for the same population.

Supporting Caregivers:  AARP is fighting to ensure more Americans can receive the services they need to live independently in their homes and communities by:

  • Valuing and supporting the 2,300,000 family caregivers in Illinois – individuals who provide help to their loved ones to enable them to live at home and whose unpaid contributions are valued at $17,100,000,000.   

Promoting Retirement Savings:  We are fighting to help Americans save for retirement by:

  • Enacting Automatic IRA legislation, which would help many of the estimated 3,123,500 Illinoisans who don’t currently have a retirement plan at work to have simple access to a retirement savings account.

AARP: Fighting for Illinois

has 19 congressional districts, over 1.6 million AARP members and 86 volunteer chapters. Volunteers are strategically involved to spearhead election-year debates, leader forums, and community and Tele-town halls events attended by federal and state representatives. More than 277,000 activists are available by email for immediate calls-to-action.

In 2009, hosted two town halls, one Tele-town hall, and over 50 health care reform forums, all which engaged over 25,000 members directly. Our advocacy work at the state level resulted in laws that make utilities more affordable for older Illinoisans and provide greater public input to the state’s regulatory bodies; reform of the state’s private health insurance market; and increase in consumer protections.  Working with coalition allies, AARP Illinois was part of an unprecedented government reform effort resulting in broad campaign reform measures; and prevented the state from cutting critical programs and services that allow older individuals to age independently and with dignity in their own homes.

In 2010, AARP Illinois will lead efforts to protect critical programs for older Illinoisans; draft groundbreaking legislation to reform the way in which nursing homes operate and increase protections for their residents; expand on good government measures; fight attempts by the state utility companies to increase rates; repeal Illinois’ discriminatory Social Security Offset law; fight against abusive payday lending companies; and engage candidates for federal and statewide offices in debates and forums aimed at educating the public about the issues at play in the upcoming elections.

This year, faces considerable challenges.  ’ state budget deficit has been estimated at $13 billion.  AARP Illinois will advocate for fair and progressive tax reform that secures sufficient revenue for the state’s most vital programs upon which Illinoisans rely.

AARP Contact Information

Illinois:  Bob Gallo, Senior State Director; BGallo@aarp.org; (312) 458-3604
Washington, DC: Kristin Keckeisen, Senior Legislative Representative; KKeckeisen@aarp.org; (202) 434-3767

References

Strengthening Social Security: Social Security Administration, 2007. OASDI Beneficiaries by State and County.

Protecting Medicare: The Kaiser Family Foundation, 2008. State Health Facts. http://www.statehealthfacts.org/

Improving Health Care: Doughnut hole: AARP (PPI) Fact Sheet, 2009. “Closing the ‘Doughnut Hole’ Will Help Protect Over One-Third of Medicare Beneficiaries from High Drug Costs”

Improving Health Care: Uninsured 50-64: Census Bureau. Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2007 through 2009

Improving Health Care: Home and Community-Based Services: AARP PPI, 2009. Across the States: Profiles of Long-term Care and Independent Living.

Supporting Caregivers: AARP PPI, 2008. Valuing the Invaluable: The Economic Value of Caregiving, 2008 Update.

Promoting Retirement Savings: Based on data from the US Census, State and Patterns & Current Populations Survey statistics on Pension Coverage. 2004.

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