While government programmes like Social Security and Medicare dramatically lower the poverty rate and improve the health of many older Americans, economic insecurity and inadequate health care persist for large segments of the older population in the United States, especially women, people of colour and older adults living alone. Government reporting underestimates the number of people facing economic hardship and inadequately reflects the true cost of living. This exacerbates the situation for struggling older adults by reducing opportunities for assistance.
Atlantic supports efforts to accurately measure the needs of older adults, as well as to ensure access to stable sources of income and other entitled benefits for low-income older adults, like Social Security, Medicare and pensions.
Atlantic also seeks to improve the quality of health care for older adults with chronic conditions by making systemic changes that better coordinate care and reduce costs.
In earlier work, our grantees helped protect Social Security from proposed cuts, reversed a proposed increase in the eligibility for Medicare benefits, recovered $7.5 billion in unclaimed low-income benefits, restored $50 million in lost pensions, and engaged older people to fight for new models of health care and financing for them.
As a limited life foundation, we are investing in areas where we believe Atlantic can achieve significant progress in the relatively short time we have remaining.
Our Focus As We Conclude Our Grantmaking
Enhance and Protect Economic Support for Low-Income Elders
Atlantic’s goal is to ensure access to stable sources of income and other benefits for low-income elders. We support grantee projects to ensure that policymakers and opinion leaders have accurate facts about Social Security and its vital role in protecting the lowest income beneficiaries from poverty. Atlantic also funds increased coordination of and access to government benefit entitlements for low-income elders, restoration and expansion of pension benefits, and efforts for adoption of the Elder Economic Security Standard Index, which is an accurate measure of older adults’ financial requirements and thereby a resource for determining appropriate allocation of public resources. The combined impact of our work will improve the economic security for millions of low-income older adults.
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Improve Health Care Delivery Models and Financing for Low-Income Elders
Vulnerable older adults—those who are frail, very old and have multiple chronic conditions—are the most expensive part of the health care system and yet they often get the worst care. Atlantic is investing in a multifaceted programme to assure that older adults, their families and their advocates have a strong voice in critical health care decisions regarding changes in care delivery and payment. We support cost-effective models that provide better coordinated and patient-centred care for people with multiple chronic illnesses. The ultimate outcome is for older adults to experience a better quality of life through improved care.
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1 in 3
older adults relies on Social Security for nearly all their income.