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West Virginia State Fact Sheet

AARP is proud to represent and serve 294,354 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 West Virginia 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: 64 percent of West Virginians 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

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

  • Providing relief for 388,930 who won’t receive a cost of living increase (COLA) this year.

Protecting Medicare:  We are fighting to protect guaranteed benefits for the 371,770 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 135,799 seniors by closing the Medicare Part D coverage gap or “doughnut hole.”
  • Preventing insurance companies from denying affordable coverage to up to 52,000 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 19 percent of long-term care dollars in on home and community based-services for older adults and adults with physical disabilities and 81 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 420,000 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 $2,500,000,000.   

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

  • Enacting Automatic IRA legislation, which would help many of the estimated 364,800 who don’t currently have a retirement plan at work to have simple access to a retirement savings account. 

AARP: Fighting for West Virginia

AARP West Virginia spearheaded a new state coalition that successfully led to landmark health care reform legislation in the state.  Business, labor, faith-based and health care organizations – who often have divergent views – came together to form the West Virginians Campaign for a Healthy Future Coalition.  AARP was one of 12 founding members of the Coalition, which boasts a membership of more than 50 organizations.

Working closely with legislative leaders and Governor Joe Manchin, SB 414 - Governor’s Office of Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Planning was passed by the legislature and signed into law in June 2009. The legislation launches the first stage of a five-year plan that will extend affordable, high quality care to every resident.  By increasing coordination of care and reducing wasteful inefficiencies, full implementation of the legislation is projected to reduce growth of health costs in the by $2.7 billion by 2018.

Key features of the plan include:

  • Creation of a Cabinet-level office of health care reform;
  • Creation of four major patient-centered “medical home” pilots;
  • An integrated Health rmation Technology Plan; and,
  • Streamlining costly and inefficient program administration that contributes to high health costs.

In 2010, AARP will work with Healthy Future partners and legislative leaders to ensure that the new Cabinet-level office, The Governor’s Office of Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Planning, receives the funding it needs to carry out its mission.  In addition, the Coalition and the AARP are supporting an increase in the state’s tobacco tax and for the funds to be used for health care initiatives.

AARP Contact Information

West Virginia:  Gaylene Miller, Sr. State Director,; (304) 340-4602
Washington, DC: Andrea Price Carter, Sr. Legislative Representative,; (202) 434-3771


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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