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2019 – The Year of the Final Volkswagen Beetle

November 20, 2018
Volkswagon Beetle Photo by Scott Umstattd on Unsplash

I had to post this press release because really, it’s the end of an era! I learned to drive on a Volkswagen Beetle, driving in circles in a dirt field with my dad shouting instructions on how to shift. It’s not that I loved that car so much as I love the memory. I bet some of you have Beetle memories as well! You already know that I am a bit of a car lover!

2019: The Last Year of the Volkswagen Beetle

On the heels of Volkswagen of America‘s (Volkswagen) announcement that it will cease production of the iconic Beetle in 2019, organizers of the Los Angeles Auto Show‘s (LA Auto Show®) AutoMobility LA™ today revealed that the popular brand will host its annual Motoring Invitational. This year’s event, entitled “Beetles & Breakfast,” will take place from 7:00 am – 8:00 am on Wednesday, Nov. 28, inside the Technology Pavilion located in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Beetles & Breakfast, LA Based Beetle Owners Invited to Join

Beetles & Breakfast welcomes media and industry professionals from around the world attending AutoMobility LA. The commemorative showcase, which will kick-off a packed day of vehicle unveilings, will have nearly 30 Beetles on display, including the 2019 Beetle Final Edition models. Registered attendees will also be able to enjoy complimentary food and entertainment. Volkswagen will display a number of heritage Beetles dating as far back as 1946, as well as the Americas Rallycross-winning Beetle racecar. Los Angeles-based Beetle owners have also been invited to join the festivities.

Vintage Beetles

Dune Buggy Wikimedia

Dune Buggy Wikimedia

Additional vintage vehicles slated to participate in Beetles & Breakfast include, but are not limited to:

  • 1949 Beetle
  • 1949 Hebmueller roadster
  • 1952 Karmann Cabriolet
  • 1964 Beetle
  • 1969 Beetle rally car
  • 1969 Wedding Car
  • 1971 Meyers Manx
  • 1979 Super Beetle Convertible

“We are pleased to be hosting Beetles & Breakfast at AutoMobility LA,” said Derrick Hatami, executive vice president of sales, Volkswagen of America. “This is a great opportunity to highlight the heritage of the Beetle brand and to introduce the 2019 Beetle Final Edition coupe and convertible to the media. Los Angeles is a perfect place to celebrate the Beetle thanks to the long and lasting relationship between Californians and the brand.”

Volkswagen Beetle Photo by Tom Arrowsmith on Unsplash

Photo by Tom Arrowsmith on Unsplash

For nearly 70 years, the Beetle brand has been a mainstay for Volkswagen in the U.S. Over the lifespan of the Type 1 or Beetle, nearly 5 million were sold in the U.S. out of a worldwide total of 21.5 million. In 1998, the new Beetle reintroduced the familiar shape to a new generation of drivers and in 2011, the third-generation version went on sale in the U.S. as a 2012 model. Over its lifetime, the Beetle has been sold as a two-door coupe or two-door convertible. Volkswagen recently announced that production of the third-generation Beetle will end in 2019.

2019 VW Beetle

2019 VW Beetle

The brand will produce a limited number of Final Edition models, which are inspired by the 2003 Ultima Edicion. There will be two versions, the SE and SEL trims for the coupe and convertible, both of which will make their debut at Beetles & Breakfast during AutoMobility LA.

“To have Volkswagen choose AutoMobility LA for gathering some of the rarest Beetles around is significant,” said Terri Toennies, executive vice president and general manager of the LA Auto Show and AutoMobility LA. “Beetles & Breakfast is a fitting platform for Volkswagen to introduce its 2019 Final Edition models and start its farewell tour for one of the most beloved vehicles of our time.”

To register for AutoMobility LA, please visit

For additional information on Beetles & Breakfast and AutoMobility LA, please visit

Health News

Top Five Reasons for Consumers to Compare Their 2019 Health Coverage Options

November 13, 2018
Health Coverage Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Recently eHealth, Inc. released data from an analysis of trends in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) market that shed light on figures from the federal government suggesting that enrollment in ACA health coverage during the current open enrollment period may be lagging behind enrollment figures from last year.

eHealth’s analysis of its own 2018 and 2019 health insurance products offerings shows:

Fewer enrollees are being bumped from their old plans – The number of eHealth customers forced to shop for new 2019 plans because their current health plan will not be available in the new year is down 98 percent compared to last year.
Fewer insurers are departing the market – The number of eHealth customers forced to look for new coverage because their current health insurer is exiting their local market is down 100 percent compared to last year.
Fewer customers are seeing rate increases – The number of eHealth customers getting a rate increase of 10 percent or more for the 2019 plan year is down 59 percent compared to last year.
“On the one hand, this is great news for health insurance consumers, since it suggests a more stable ACA market,” said eHealth CEO Scott Flanders. “More people may be holding onto their 2018 plans into the new year. However, there’s a trade-off: With fewer changes to their coverage and moderated premiums, fewer people are being actively reminded to get out there and shop during the current open enrollment period. In fact, this may be a particularly good year for people to shop for a new plan that will better meet their needs in 2019.”

Top Five Reasons Consumers Should Compare their 2019 Coverage Options

Prescription Health Options Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Many consumers will find lower prices than last year – According to an eHealth analysis of plans available to 45-year-olds in 38 metropolitan areas through the federal health insurance marketplace, the premium for the lowest-cost bronze plan has decreased an average of 3 percent compared with last year’s open enrollment period. Some markets show double-digit premium reductions: the premium for the lowest cost bronze plan decreased 26 percent in Raleigh, NC; 18 percent in Phoenix, AZ; 15 percent in Atlanta, GA; and 13 percent in Trenton, NJ.

There are more plans to choose from compared to last year – According to eHealth’s analysis, there are 31 percent more plans to choose from across all states served by the federal health insurance marketplace. Consumers can also enroll in these plans through certain licensed brokers like, where additional ACA-compliant plans that are not available through government marketplaces can also be found.

Provider networks can change from one year to the next – Health insurance consumers who are pleased with their 2018 coverage should make sure that their preferred doctors and hospitals are still covered next year. Many health insurance plans change their list of network health care providers annually. At eHealth, consumers can sort available plans to see which are accepted by their preferred doctor.

Coverage for prescription drugs can also change – Consumers who are otherwise satisfied with their current plan may also wish to shop for new 2019 coverage if the insurance company has changed its list of covered medications or increased copays associated with prescription drugs. At eHealth, consumers can sort plans based on those that provide them with the greatest savings for their prescription drug needs.

There are more alternatives this time for those who can’t afford ACA coverage – People who earn too much money to qualify for government subsidies under the ACA may not always be able to afford ACA-compliant coverage on their own. This year, many will have access to short-term health insurance products with coverage periods of up to one year in most states (90 days was the federal limit last year), and they will not face a tax penalty for going without ACA-compliant coverage in 2019. ACA alternatives like short-term plans do not have the same benefits and protections as ACA plans (they do not cover the ACA’s ten minimum essential benefits or coverage for pre-existing conditions, for example), but ACA alternatives can provide meaningful protection from medical costs in many cases of unexpected illness or injury.

About eHealth

eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) owns, a leading private online health insurance exchange where individuals, families and small businesses can compare health insurance products from brand-name insurers side by side and purchase and enroll in coverage online and over the phone. eHealth offers thousands of individual, family and small business health plans underwritten by many of the nation’s leading health insurance companies. eHealth (through its subsidiaries) is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. eHealth also offers educational resources, exceptional telephonic support, and powerful online and pharmacy-based tools to help Medicare beneficiaries navigate Medicare health insurance options, choose the right plan and enroll in select plans online or over the phone through (, (, GoMedigap ( and (

Health News

King Bio FDA Recall

August 28, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers and pet owners not to use drug products, including homeopathic drug products, made by King Bio Inc., Asheville, N.C., and labeled as Dr. King’s, as these products may pose a safety risk to people (especially infants, children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems), as well as pets due to high levels of microbial contamination identified at the manufacturing site. King Bio has expanded its voluntary recall for a second time to include all water-based (aqueous) drug products marketed for human and animals. The FDA recommends that consumers stop using and dispose of these products immediately.

A Range Of Products Including Those for Children & Pets

King Bio manufactures a range of products including those for children, adults, and pets. Products that are part of the recall include Dr. King’s Children’s Cough Relief, Dr. King’s Chicken Pox Symptom Relief, Dr. King’s Children’s Ear Relief Formula, Dr. King’s Children’s Appetite Enhancer, Dr. King’s Attention and Learning Enhancement For Kids, Dr. King’s Cold Sore treatment, Dr. King’s Wart Freeze, and pet products for urinary incontinence and digestion relief. The full list of products is listed on the King Bio website.

Drug Supplement Recall

Products Cause an Increased Risk of Serious Infection

Consumers and pets who use these products could have an increased risk of serious infection, that could require medical attention, due to the high levels of microbial contamination. An infection could be a life-threatening event for immunocompromised patients. Consumers and pet owners who have purchased these products should contact their healthcare professional if they have concerns or observe signs of an infection after the use of these products.

King Bio Issues Voluntary Recall On All Products Using Water As An Ingredient

King Bio voluntarily recalled three drug products labeled as homeopathic due to confirmed microbial contamination in July 2018. The company then expanded its voluntary recall to include an additional 32 drug products on August 22, 2018. The FDA contacted King Bio on August 23, 2018, and recommended the company again expand its recall to include all products that use water as an ingredient, including drug products for humans and animals. The company is expanding its recall to drug products made with water marketed for human and animals.

FDA and Federal Trade Commission Issue a Joint Warning

In addition to the FDA’s concerns about the company’s recurring issues with contamination, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a joint warning letter to King Bio in January 2018, for illegally marketing an unapproved product to prevent, cure or treat opioid addiction.

The FDA encourages health care professionals and consumers to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of King Bio’s products to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program:

For reporting adverse drug events in animals, please see How to Report Animal Drug Side Effects and Product Problems.

News Travel

Fly Like a Bird With Birdly VR

August 3, 2018
Shanghai HKRI Taikoohui Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

Jaunt China announced the launch of Fantasy Land, an immersive experiences exhibition, at the Shanghai HKRI Taikoohui, one of the most prestigious retail landmarks in Shanghai.

This exhibition features 28 titles curated from Jaunt China’s 300 plus title library, including winners and nominees from world-renowned international film festivals such as Sundance, Tribeca, Cannes, and Venice.

In addition, four titles, An ObituaryThe CaretakerThe Wild Immersion, and Between Petrov And Vodkin, are premiering in China for the first time.

Fly Like a Bird


Birdly VR, the breathtaking VR flight simulator designed by SOMNIACS from Switzerland, is making its first public appearance in China since its prototype launch in 2013.

Birdly fulfills the fantasy of flying like a bird. The flight simulator recreates full-body flight experience instinctively with arms and hands — movements correlating to the flapping of wings or moving of a tail just as a bird might do.

The sense of flying is also enhanced through visual and audio effects, together with a synchronized ventilation system to simulate the breeze during the flight.

Fantasy Land

Fantasy Land, housed in a 280 square meter venue, is divided into two parts: VR Cinema and VR Experiences.

VR Cinema

VR Flickr

The VR Cinema, powered by Jaunt China’s proprietary VR cinema and exhibition technology, is dedicated to screening the best VR titles that have been shortlisted by most prestigious international film festivals, with a rotating weekly playlist.

VR Experience

The VR Experiences is designed to tantalize audience’s sense in four different thematic zones: “Light Stage”, “The Anywhere Door”, “Nature Extinction”, and “Space Walk”.

Fantasy Land is the first exhibition exclusively developed and hosted by Jaunt China and opens to the public today and runs through September 2.

Exhibition Info

  • Time: 3rd Aug 2018 – 2nd Sept 2018; 10:00 – 22:00
  • Venue: S107, 1F, HKRI Taikoohui, No.789 West Nanjing Road, Shanghai, PRC.
Arts & Entertainment News

AARP TV For Grownups Recognizes Norman Lear

July 24, 2018
AARP TV for Grownups Norman Lear

Following in the footsteps of its Movies for Grownups Awards, AARP recently announced the debut of its TV for Grownups® Honors on July 24, 2018, at the Sunset Tower Hotel. The program will celebrate the career achievement of iconic television pioneer Norman Lear. Academy Award, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Rita Moreno will present the award to Lear. The event will be hosted by actress Wendie Malick, with notable guests including Dick Van Dyke, Frances Fisher, Marla Gibbs,Bob Saget, Adrienne Barbeau, Chuck Lorre and more.

“AARP’s mission is to empower people to choose how they live as they age, and nobody does it better than Norman Lear,” said Myrna Blyth, SVP and Editorial Director of AARP Media. “Our new initiative, AARP TV for Grownups, connects the 50-plus viewer with the best in programming and also celebrates the work of older actors and industry leaders.”

Norman Lear One Day AARP

Norman Lear One Day AARP

Norman Lear, a four-time Emmy winner, shaped the trajectory of television, spearheading a new kind of socially relevant programming that forever changed the medium. Throughout his distinguished career, Lear has been inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, recognized as a Kennedy Center Honoree, and presented with the National Medal of Arts and the Peabody Lifetime Achievement Award. Lear continues to innovate with his latest comedy series, a multi-generational reboot hit on Netflix, One Day at a Time, starring Moreno.

Modeled after AARP’s highly successful Movies for Grownups franchise, TV for Grownups celebrates the 50-plus audience and their television viewing habits. The 50-plus population outpaces younger viewers: according to a GfK MRI Fall 2017 study, the 50-plus watch a median of 34 hours per week, about 15 hours more than viewers age 18-49.

AARP TV for Grownups Awards

AARP TV for Grownups Awards

In addition, AARP’s TV for Grownups will bring audiences closer to their favorite TV content with news, interviews, weekly online reviews and previews, and other special events year-round. TV for Grownups will help filter and inform the choices for more than 38 million AARP members and other 50-plus viewers. The initiative will encompass all platforms of television content, including broadcast, cable and streaming (for which the 50-plus are the fastest-growing demographic). TV for Grownups will also help viewers make savvy choices when choosing TV-related devices and apps, service providers and subscription-based platforms.

To learn more about TV for Grownups go to

Life News

AARP Launches “Disrupt Dementia”

July 8, 2018
Fighting Dementia

My mom died in her early 60s due to complications of Alzheimer’s. She was a fierce woman, even in her dementia. My sister, God bless her, took on the care of my mom once it became obvious that she could no longer be left alone. She found her a well-kept home and moved her in.

I found out after she died that people with Alzheimer’s lose their inhibitions, basically all the layers that we learn to hide behind that civilize us. So, my mom, whose first cuss word I heard her use was “Hell’s Bell’s” cussed like a sailor, kicked other tenants of the home and got caught throwing her leg over the fence to escape on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, one of the other things I didn’t learn until she died was that Alzheimer’s patients forget how to swallow. You have to be very careful how they eat because the food that they swallow incorrectly can get into their lungs and cause pneumonia, which is the complication that my mom died from. I felt guilty for years about that, that somehow I should have known and taken better care of her. But this was before the days of Google and information was not as accessible as it is today.

This is one of the reasons that I wanted to post this press release. Information is power and with these kinds of numbers, we need to be paying attention to a cure or an effective treatment.

A Mission of Empowerment

With nearly 10 million new cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease occurring each year and no cure, AARP recently launched a new campaign, “Disrupt Dementia.” The campaign aims to help drive new diagnostics and treatments for dementias while providing education, support and hope for patients and family caregivers impacted by the physical, emotional and financial stress of dementia.

The centerpiece of the campaign is AARP’s new $60 million investment in the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), the first and largest venture fund focused on discovering and developing effective new drugs for treating dementia. AARP also helped secure the participation of UnitedHealth Group and Quest Diagnostics, which have invested $10 million and $5 million respectively – totaling $75 million to the DDF’s fight against a condition that has not seen a new approved treatment in 15 years.

“AARP’s mission is to empower people to choose how they live as they age, but dementia takes that privilege away from millions of Americans and people around the world,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “The statistics are staggering, and the numbers continue to climb each year. By 2030, there are projected to be 82 million people suffering from dementia and despite decades of research costing billions of dollars, there is still no cure and few ways to treat symptoms of dementia. With today’s investment in the DDF, AARP and our partners have committed to helping find innovative solutions that can reverse the trend of this health crisis and champion brain health.”

Poor Treament Options

A newly released AARP survey of U.S. physicians shows that doctors are also frustrated with the limited tools available to diagnose and treat dementia for their patients. One in three U.S. physicians surveyed say they feel that current dementia treatment options are poor, and nearly half of physicians strongly agree that there needs to be more diagnostic tools and research for dementia. In fact, most physicians (62 percent) say a lack of diagnostic tools is the greatest impediment to effective treatment. Moreover, there is not significant optimism among physicians for progress anytime soon. Only 10 percent say they are extremely or very optimistic that effective treatment protocols will emerge in the next five years.

The last Alzheimer’s drug was approved more than a decade and a half ago and only brings temporary relief of disease symptoms. Since that time, more than 400 clinical trials have failed. Highly touted research focusing on eliminating plaques and tangles has, unfortunately, not produced safe, effective treatments, and some companies have abandoned their efforts in the face of long odds. Because of this, nearly half of the physicians in the new AARP survey say dementia is a hopeless diagnosis.

Latest Data

And the brain health crisis doesn’t just affect dementia sufferers, but also their friends, family and loved ones. The latest data shows that the impact of dementia on both patients and family caregivers will only continue to grow, as the number of people with the disease in the U.S. is estimated to reach 14 million by 2050, according to research conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association. It is estimated that family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia provided 18.4 billion hours of unpaid assistance in 2017 alone, a contribution valued at $232.1 billion nationally.

To draw attention to the experiences of patients and family caregivers and to spark bold new solutions for the world’s brain health crisis, AARP initiated a conversation during national Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. On June 25, AARP hosted an event in New York City featuring a group of experts in the medical, business and technology sectors as well as notable celebrity guests, including acclaimed journalist and author Katie Couric as the event emcee, and award-winning actress Jane Krakowski, who shared her own personal experience as a dementia caregiver. Following remarks by Jenkins, the experts and advocates who spoke at the event included Kate Bingham, the SV managing partner of the Dementia Discovery Fund; UnitedHealthcare’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Pronovost; and technology and personal finance reporter and expert, Natali Morris. Key learnings, tips and content for family caregivers are shared at

Family and Caregivers

For many, the battle isn’t professional but personal.

“After my family’s personal experience with dementia, I echo AARP’s concerns about this looming health crisis and I applaud the campaign to Disrupt Dementia,” said Jane Krakowski. “The chance to stop the impact of this heartbreaking disease could be nothing short of life-changing for so many people, and AARP’s mission to spread education and understanding of the disease has the power to be truly transformative.”

While research is underway to find treatments and a cure, AARP offers resources and tools on its website for the 16.1 million Americans who care for people living with dementia. The organization continuously works to improve the communities in which people with dementia and their caregivers live, by working with leaders and local governments across the U.S. to adopt “age-friendly” guidelines and develop resources. AARP also founded the Global Council on Brain Health to help people strengthen their brain health and minimize their risk of dementia. And AARP is part of the National Advisory Council for Dementia Friendly America.

To access information available to family caregivers, visit: To join the conversation on social media, use AARP’s official campaign hashtag, #DisruptDementia. AARP also urges people to share memories of loved ones impacted by dementia or Alzheimer’s on Twitter and Instagram at #HowIRemember.

Health News Practicalities of Living

Naproxen, Sodium and Weight Gain

June 27, 2018
Juggling Naproxen and sodium intake

NSAIDS, especially in the form of naproxen, are both the bane and boon of my life. For many years when I was younger, I took one naproxen in the morning and one in the evening to alleviate the pain in my knees from arthritis. I still remember how upset I was when I found out that studies were showing that taking it on a regular basis led to an increase in the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Juggling Risks

Now that I am reaching my “golden years” I am finding that I need to play an interesting game called “juggle your risks” in order to maintain my quality of life.

On the one hand, I have heart issues including AFIB and possibly other wonderful things like congestive heart failure, three words you don’t really want to hear from your doctor. The other hand juggles the ball labeled arthritis, along with other assorted balls such as exercise, reduce sodium intake and lose weight.

Being a Nerdy Type

I now weigh myself every day and because I am a nerdy type and like to research all kinds of things, I make regular notes of my blood pressure, blood sugar and anything that is going on in my life that might have an impact on those things. I use this awesome site to log my notes and keep track of exercise and food intake. It has really been helpful to me in losing weight and discovering interesting patterns in my body, especially about salt intake.

Unconcious Food Faux Pas

The last couple of days I was trying to finish up a package of sliced deli turkey that I had in the fridge and was making myself a tasty sandwich with two slices of the turkey, a slice of provolone cheese and half an avocado. The calories were well within those allowed for my day and I didn’t think too much about it and didn’t log my food for two days because I was really busy.

Over those 2 days, I gained three pounds! When I went back and input my food intake and exercise, I was slightly over in calories on one day and under on the other, so the old counting calories thing had obviously gone off the rails somewhere.

However, much to my dismay my salt intake was almost three times what it should have been. Most blah, blah, blah experts say that we should limit sodium intake to between 1,500 mg. and 2,300 mg. daily. I can tell you that if you eat out at all, you will not be hitting anywhere near this mark. You will most likely be well over 3,000 mg. before you can say, “Bob’s your uncle!”

Naproxen and Salt Intake

Like most Americans, I have enjoyed eating out for years and never paid a lick of attention to my salt intake. Now it kicks my butt, especially if I combine it with taking naproxen.

According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “Inhibition of renal prostaglandin synthesis by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) causes various electrolyte and acid-base disturbances including sodium retention (edema, hypertension), hyponatremia, hyperkalemia, and decreased renal function. Decreased sodium excretion can result in weight gain, peripheral edema, attenuation of the effects of antihypertensive agents, and rarely aggravation of congestive heart failure.”

Do You See the Juggling Act Here?

Egyptian jugglers

I feel much, much better than I did at the beginning of the year and I know that has to do with some changes in my prescribed medications and herbal/vitamin meds, paying attention to my diet and being able to exercise more but it is an interesting study in balance.

Sometimes I have no other options but to take the naproxen in order to be able to move, but if I do, I have to be more strict with my salt intake.

I am exploring other avenues of pain alleviation, including herbal remedies and medical marijuana but those are topics for another day. In the meantime, I am off to exercise!

Life News Practicalities of Living Technology

91 Percent of Adults 50+ Use Personal Technology To Stay Connected

June 25, 2018
Personal technology

91 percent of tech owners 50-plus say they use personal technology to keep in touch with family and friends, according to a new AARP survey aimed at measuring and identifying technology use and attitudes among adults 50-plus. The research found that mobile and computing devices are the primary technology for Americans 50-plus with subtle differences between age groups. Adults in their 50s and 60s are texting more than emailing on smartphones, while people 70-plus are more likely to use desktop computers and cellphones to keep in touch. Among people who own computers, tablets and smartphones, each device has different uses: computers are used for more practical tasks, tablets for entertainment and smartphones for social and on-the-go activities.

Key findings from the latest AARP Survey on Technology Use and Attitudes Among Mid-Life and Older Americans are:

Seventy percent of adults 50-plus own a smartphone and an equal percentage are on social media. Among those ages 50-69, text messaging has overtaken email as the tech tool most used to stay connected.

Adults in their sixties are more likely to use their devices to manage medical care than those in their 50s or 70s, particularly among tablet and smartphone owners.

The survey additionally reported that over three-quarters (77 percent) reported using their smartphone for directions or traffic information.

Other top activities include purchasing apps, surfing the internet, getting news and accessing social media. Another key finding was that privacy and security are a concern for most older adults but many are not taking proactive steps to protect themselves online.

This AARP Survey on Technology Use and Attitudes can be found here.

Survey Methodology
The survey on Technology Use and Attitudes was fielded from November 16-27, 2017. Data were collected using GfK’s KnowlegePanel, an online probability-based panel. The final, nationally representative sample included 1,520 adults age 50 and older. The margin of error for the general population is ± 2.7 percentage points.

Health News

Pharmacy Rebates Save Seniors Money

June 14, 2018
CVS pharmacy aisles

Sharing a portion of negotiated rebates at the pharmacy counter could save seniors in Medicare with diabetes more than $350 annually, according to a new analysis from IHS Markit. The data also show sharing negotiated rebates could save Medicare nearly $1000 annually for every senior taking diabetes medication and reduce total health care spending by approximately $20 billion over the next ten years.

“Robust competition and choice in Medicare Part D has led to expanded coverage and stable premiums, but more needs to be done to improve affordability and predictability for seniors,” said Stephen J. Ubl, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which commissioned the study. “Sharing negotiated rebates would lower out-of-pocket costs for seniors and result in significant savings across the Medicare program.”

Diabetes is a common disease among Medicare beneficiaries and yet there continues to be significant underutilization of diabetes medicines. Complications resulting from mismanagement of the disease currently costs the Medicare program nearly $100 billion each year.

According to the new IHS Markit analysis, “for brand diabetes medicines, wide availability of competing products within multiple therapeutic classes has enabled payers to negotiate additional savings, reducing the net prices of some products by more than 70 percent.” Currently, most seniors do not see these savings in the prices they pay at the pharmacy counter.

IHS Markit found that sharing 80 percent of these rebates with seniors would lower their out-of-pocket costs by $350 per year and reduce total health care spending by approximately $20 billion over the next ten years due to improved medication adherence and better management of the disease.

The new analysis provides further evidence on the benefits of sharing negotiated savings with patients. Earlier this year, PhRMA submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services urging the agency to require Part D plans to pass through negotiated discounts and rebates to beneficiaries at the point of sale. In addition, PhRMA recently launched a new “Let’s Talk About Medicare” campaign focused on solutions, like sharing the savings, that would improve affordability and predictability for seniors.

To learn more about “Let’s Talk About Medicare” visit:

About PhRMA
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $600 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $65.5 billion in 2016 alone.

Connect with PhRMA
For information on how innovative medicines save lives, please visit:

Health News

More Seniors Face Hunger Today Than Before The Great Recession

June 6, 2018
Food bank truck

Feeding America® and The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH) recently released The State of Senior Hunger in America in 2016, a study about food insecurity among seniors in the United States. Food insecurity refers to the lack of access to enough nutritious food. The report shows that 4.9 million seniors age 60 or older (7.7 percent) were food insecure in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. Although the current food-insecurity rate has declined recently, it remains substantially above the rate in 2007 (6.3 percent).

Despite improvements in the economy, millions of seniors in the U.S. are not able to afford enough food. Seniors with the lowest incomes are most at risk of being food insecure. Yet about two-thirds of food-insecure seniors have income above the federal poverty line, and many likely do not qualify for federal nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

“Many Older Americans encounter a myriad of issues the general population does not face, including health conditions, transportation challenges, and physical limitations,” said Feeding America President Matt Knott. “At Feeding America, we are looking at ways to address food-insecure seniors’ unique needs, so that they can live fuller, more food-secure lives, with as much dignity and independence as possible.”

The issue of food insecurity among the elderly is larger than the lack of access to nutritious food alone. Research also demonstrates that food insecure seniors are at much greater risk of being diabetic, suffering from depression, having congestive heart failure, experiencing a heart attack or having asthma than food-secure elders.

“This 2016 report brings mixed news,” said Enid A. Borden, Founder, CEO of NFESH. “On the one hand, a smaller percentage of seniors experienced food insecurity than in the previous two years – which is a clear demonstration that our efforts to raise public awareness and to address this national tragedy through programs at the community level can make a difference. But the bottom line is that more than twice as many older citizens struggled with lack of adequate food to remain healthy in 2016 as did in 2001.”

As the number of seniors in the U.S. is expected to grow substantially over the coming years if nothing changes millions more seniors will experience food insecurity.

This latest report documents the characteristics of seniors who struggle to meet their nutritional needs. Specifically, in 2016, researchers found:

Seniors who are racial or ethnic minorities, low-income or younger vs. older (age 60-69 vs. age 80+) were most likely to be affected by some level of food insecurity.

Seniors who reported a disability were disproportionately affected, with 24 percent reporting food insecurity.

Senior food insecurity rates vary by state, ranging from 3.4% in North Dakota to 14.1% in Louisiana. Seniors living in the South are more likely to experience food insecurity than seniors living in other parts of the country.

In examining the extent of the threat of hunger nationally among seniors in 2016, the report also provides the rates of senior hunger in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The State of Senior Hunger in America in 2016 was produced by Feeding America in partnership with NFESH. The study was conducted by researchers Dr. James Ziliak and Dr. Craig Gundersen and is the source for national and state-level information about food insecurity among seniors age 60 and older.