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Social Isolation:  An Important Health and Public Health Issue and a Significant Cost to Medicare


Join us for a discussion of the financial costs and public health implications associated with social isolation among older adults.


Social isolation has been shown to lead to poor health and even premature death. New research just published by the AARP Public Policy Institute finds that isolation also increases health care costs: a lack of social contacts among older adults is associated with an estimated $6.7 billion in additional Medicare spending annually.

Please join the AARP Public Policy Institute for a discussion of social isolation’s effects on individuals’ health, its impact on Medicare spending, and potential policy solutions to address social isolation and its consequences.  In addition, panelists will discuss how social isolation became recognized as a major public health concern in the UK and how the issue can be better recognized in the US. Finally, we will discuss current efforts by the AARP Foundation and Medicare Advantage plans to address the issue.



  • Susan Reinhard, Senior Vice President and Director, AARP Public Policy Institute & Chief Strategist, Center to Champion Nursing in America
  • Lina Walker, Vice President, Health Security, AARP Public Policy Institute


Featured Speakers

  • Lynda Flowers, Senior Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute
  • Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Professor, Brigham Young University
  • Janet Morrison, CEO, Independent Age and Chair of Campaign to End Loneliness in the UK            
  • Trisha Neuman, Senior Vice President of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Director of the Foundation’s Program on Medicare Policy, Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Andrew Renda, MD, MPH, Director of the Bold Goal (Population Health) Office of the Chief Medical Officer at Humana
  • Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President, AARP Foundation
  • Jonathan Shaw, Clinical Assistant Professor Medicine and Director of Community Partnerships, Division of Primary Care & Population Health, Stanford University School of Medicine

Closing Remarks

  • Debra Whitman, Executive Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer, AARP

To register, please click on this link:

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Previous Forums

PPI regularly organizes AARP Solutions Forums that bring together the nation's leading experts to discuss policy options for addressing major problems facing older Americans.

Sign up online to attend forthcoming PPI Solutions Forums on major public policy issues.

Solutions Forum: Housing for Tomorrow

The Atlantic convened a public forum to discuss whether a new kind of housing bubble is starting to simmer and what options are emerging to address this growing urgency for many Americans. 
View this forum archive

Solutions Forum: The Economic Case for Tapping the Full Potential of Nurses

Business and health care leaders discussed how their industries can more effectively utilize nurses to improve care and contain costs. Dr. Mark McClellan of the Brookings Institution and former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provided the keynote address. 
View this forum archive


Solutions Forum: Release of New State Scorecard

PPI released Raising Expectations 2014: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers. The Scorecard ranks states on their effectiveness delivering LTSS.  
View this forum archive


Solutions Forum: What’s Preventing Prevention?

Preventive services were a priority in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which required that a set of services be available to consumers with no cost sharing. This has improved access for some people to some services. But persistent barriers for consumers are limiting the utilization of preventive services. Cosponsored by the Alliance for Health Reform. 
View this forum archive


Solutions Forum: Modernizing Medicaid

This forum explored modernizing Medicaid to enable people who need long-term services and supports to live where they choose, including their own homes and communities. 
View this forum archive


Solutions Forum: Promising Ideas for Medicare

Wide-ranging perspectives on how to lower costs and improve care in Medicare. 
View this forum archive


Sign up online to attend PPI Solutions Forums.


Previous Events


The Future of Transportation: An On24 Webinar

Watch the Archived Webinar

We’ve all heard about the impending arrival of driverless vehicles. And already, new transportation models like Uber and Lyft are changing the way we get around.

You need to know about these trends. And you also need to know about a world of other transportation shifts potentially on the horizon. For the urbanites out there, what revolutionary changes are in store for public transit? And how do rural areas stand to benefit from new transportation models? Further, what about the fans of good old-fashioned horsepower? Cars as we know them, after all, fit into our American fabric like the gears in an old Ford.

Finally, what, challenges and drawbacks may confront us in this brave new world?

Watch the hour-long conversation about the transportation issues that will impact our communities and the people who live in them. Experts discuss  driverless cars and reach beyond that into the various components of the transportation sector.

Hashing through the issues are two accomplished AARP Public Policy Institute experts with very different backgrounds when it comes to this topic.
Watch it here


2017 CARE Act Summit

November 8-9, 2017

Archived LiveStream

This summit celebrated the CARE Act’s many successes thus far, shared learnings and highlighted promising practices from the law’s implementation, and discussed potential next steps in research and advocacy. Participants included AARP staff, the research community, family caregivers, health systems and hospitals, policymakers, managed care plans and other key stakeholders.

Presented by the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) and the State Advocacy and Strategy Integration (SASI) team. 

Savings Innovation Forum

May 4, 2017
Event highlights

How can we accelerate promising strategies to expand saving among low- and moderate-income households? This unique gathering sparked conversation between veterans of the asset building field and emerging service providers and thought leaders about opportunities to improve the nation’s financial health. Participants discussed new approaches that bridge sectors, consider short- and long-term savings horizons, and put people at the center of product and program design.

The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Live Webcast

THE AGING WORKFORCE: Challenges and Benefits for the Public's Health

Thursday, February 11, 2016

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the country's population aged 65 and over is projected to be more than 83 million in 2050 -- almost double the estimated population of 43 million in 2012. This Forum will examine how the growing, greying labor force impacts workplaces and economic and health security, including retirement savings efforts and systems such as Social Security and Medicare. The discussion also will explore what it means to age productively and healthily, with a particular emphasis on the value of working, volunteering and keeping cognitive skills sharp.

Watch at

AARP’s Chief Public Policy Officer, Dr. Debra Whitman, Ph.D. presents during the

General Session at the American Planners Association Conference in Boston, MA

Featuring AARP/FPA Social Security Research Results – What role does Social Security play in pre-retiree/retiree retirement planning? Do consumers know important claiming strategies and are they taking advantage of them? How are planners helping their clients address Social Security in retirement? These and other questions are the focus of new research being conducted by AARP and FPA. This panel discussion will explore the results of this new, original research and delve into the key takeaways to help planners and their clients address this ultra-important issue in retirement planning. CNBC’s Sharon Epperson will moderate and the panel will feature Dave Yeske, CFP® – Director of Financial Planning and Distinguished Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University and Practitioner Editor of the Journal of Financial Planning; Thomas L. Hungerford, Ph.D. – Associate Commissioner, Office of Retirement Policy at the Social Security Administration; and Dr. Debra Whitman, Ph.D. – Chief Public Policy Officer at AARP.

Care Coordination in Managed Long-Term Services and Supports

Older people and adults with disabilities, particularly those with care needs, can benefit from care coordination. Care coordinators are typically nurses or social workers who can help with tasks such as monitoring chronic health conditions, connecting them to social supports, conducting assessments, and writing plans of care. The field is changing rapidly as many states move to or expand Medicaid managed care for its populations needing long-term services and supports (LTSS). Details

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Susan's Blog

Senior Vice President Susan Reinhard blogs about recent reports and topics such as caregiving and nursing.