America is becoming a more diverse nation. Older Americans are increasing in number at a rapid rate, and we are living longer. With these changes come an increasing demand for health care services and the increasing costs of care. This chapter identifies the importance of focusing on our uninsured, and often underinsured, older Americans, and the issues surrounding their access to health insurance coverage. Due to the overall small percentage of uninsured older Americans aged 65 years and above, this population is easily ignored. To appreciate the need for a closer examination, this chapter provides an overview of several issues and topics. The chapter begins with an overview of the changing demographics of America's older adults; identifies the uninsured in this population; provides a review of Medicare Parts A, B, and C; describes the role of Medicare Part D; investigates the issue of health insurance for the group of adults aged 50-64; and concludes with how some states are moving forward in providing expanded health care insurance and access to their uninsured. Older Americans, also referred to here as older adults, are defined in the chapter and in national datasets as persons 65 years and older.
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