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Rhode Island State Fact Sheet

AARP is proud to represent and serve 131,347 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 Rhode Island 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 federally strengthen state laws to prevent banks and credit card companies from taking advantage of older Americans and to protect Rhode Island consumers from unfair utility hikes.

Age 50+ voters: 71 percent of Rhode Islanders 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 Rhode Islanders

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

  • Providing relief for 181,295 Rhode Islanders who won’t receive a cost of living increase (COLA) this year.

Protecting Medicare:  We are fighting to protect guaranteed benefits for the 177,279 Rhode Islanders 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 77,691 seniors by closing the Medicare Part D coverage gap or “doughnut hole.”
  • Preventing insurance companies from denying affordable coverage to up to 15,000 Rhode Islanders 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 11 percent of long-term care dollars in on home and community based-services for older adults and adults with physical disabilities and 89 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 171,000 family caregivers in – individuals who provide help to their loved ones to enable them to live at home and whose unpaid contributions are valued at $1,470,000,000.   

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

  • Enacting Automatic IRA legislation, which would help many of the estimated 282,000 Rhode Islanders who don’t currently have a retirement plan at work to have simple access to a retirement savings account. 

AARP: Fighting for Rhode Island

More than 24,000 AARP Rhode Island activists have been in contact with federal and state elected officials on the public policy issues of greatest importance to those aged 50 + and their families.

In 2009, AARP held Tele-town halls and state public forums that featured all four Rhode Island Members of Congress.  Over 100,000 AARP Rhode Island members had the opportunity to participate in these discussions and asked direct questions of elected officials on health care reform and other issues in which Congress was active.

At the Rhode Island General Assembly, AARP volunteers and staff successfully helped stop the proposed elimination of the office of State Health Insurance Commissioner.  This office was created in 2004 with the mission to protect consumers; encourage fair treatment of medical service providers; ensure solvency of health insurers; and improve the health care system’s quality, accessibility, and affordability.  The Commissioner is taking a greater role and refused a rate change, which is widely believed to have resulted in the move to eliminate the office.

With the state embroiled in its most severe budget crisis in modern history, AARP Rhode Island joined with other advocacy groups to successfully defend important long-term care and health care programs for older residents during state budget cut-backs.

AARP Contact Information

Rhode Island:  Kathleen Connell, Sr. State Director,; (401) 248-2670
Washington, DC:  Denise DeMichele, Legislative Representative;, (202) 434-3374


Strengthening Social Security: Social Security Administration, 2007. OASDI Beneficiaries by State and County. Protecting Medicare: The Kaiser Family Foundation, 2008. State Health Facts.

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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