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Older Americans are benefitting from improvements in clinical care, but many face significant financial barriers to better health, according to a new assessment of state and national health care.
The report lists Minnesota, Utah, Hawaii, Colorado, New Hampshire and Massachusetts as the healthiest states for older people. Mississippi, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and West Virginia ranked lowest in fostering the health and well-being of older residents.
The rankings came from the United Health Foundation’s fifth annual “America’s Health Rankings Senior Report,” based in part on a survey of 1,997 people 50 and older, released in partnership with the Alliance for Aging Research.
“California and South Dakota made the greatest strides to improve their health rankings over the past year,” a summary of the report says.
The study found some good trends since 2013, including a 30 percent decrease in hospital deaths among Medicare patients 65 and older and a 7 percent decrease in hospital readmissions among 65+ Medicare patients.
But financial burdens are a growing obstacle, it says. The report found that 62 percent of retired people 65 and older and nearly 3 of 4 nonretired adults ages 50 to 64 have less in retirement savings than what is recommended for health costs alone.
“We are encouraged by the improving quality of care current seniors are receiving, yet more needs to be done to help prepare current and future older adults to meet the costs of this care,” said Susan Peschin, CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research.