Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Baby Boomer Women Key to Health Care Reform?

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Baby boomer women are  known to be the chief health officer of their household.  In fact, their reach goes byond that to an extended household that includes adult children and aging parents.  As a voice in the middle of the generations –with our own health care cost worries – can we play a pivotal role in health care reform?

An online community for women 50+ thinks so.  A survey from Vibrant Nation says more than 80% of the  Vibrant Women on their site agreed on three key issues:

  • 97% believe coverage for pre-existing conditions should be guaranteed,
  • 87% believe employees should be able to change jobs and keep the same insurer, and
  • 84% believe laws should prohibit insurance companies from cancelling policies for anyone who develops a given illness.

In addition, a majority also support the following positions:

  • 54% support a tax increase on those in the highest tax bracket to pay for health coverage,
  • 53% support a “public option” – a national healthcare plan paid for with tax dollars, and
  • 50% support the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover anyone up to age 27.

Baby boomer women sandwiched between aging parents and adult children have a unique view of health care issues.  We watch out for and fear our adult children not being adequately covered.  We know that our young adult children in their 20s feel less vulnerable and are more willing to go without insurance. We worry about whether our grandchildren have coverage and can get the health care they need.

On the other side, we have clawed our way through understanding the ins and outs of Medicare and Part D to help our aging parents make sure the have the right coverage. We are scared to death of the potential costs of long-term care.  And many baby boomer women know firsthand the fear of being without health insurance or paying astronomical premiums for insurance when they are between jobs and not yet eligible for Medicare.

 “As we see from both the survey and the active online conversations on, these women understand the issues, support President Obama’s proposal, and are willing to influence their friends, family member and elected officials,” said Dr. Carol Orsborn of Vibrant Nation. “As a Vibrant Woman myself, I believe the White House will achieve a better solution, faster, if it engages Vibrant Women who really care about this issue.”

I agree that baby boomer women are at the fulcrum of understanding  first-hand the challenges and costs of the current health care system.  Sitting in the middle, it’s pretty clear to me that the system we have can’t continue.  And if it does, more and more of us will be priced out of purchasing adequate health care coverage.  A survey released earlier this week says employees will be paying more for insurance next year: in higher premiums and higher co-pays. Those who purchase individual policies are sure to see price increases as well.

Do you think baby boomer women can be key in achieving health care reform?


Written by Laura Rossman

September 17, 2009 at 1:29 pm

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