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Wisconsin Ranks 20th for Senior Health

June 4, 2013

United Health Foundation commissioned the America’s Health Rankings Senior Report to examine the health challenges affecting today’s seniors and to encourage the nation and local communities to find ways to improve senior health. Americans are living longer but sicker lives and that America’s senior population is poised to grow more than 50 percent between 2015 and 2030, making senior health a timely and critical national issue.

The America’s Health Rankings Senior Report is the most comprehensive rankings to date of senior health on state levels and can be viewed and downloaded at www.americashealthrankings.org. This report builds on the annual America’s Health Rankings report which, for 23 years, has presented the definitive analysis of national health on a state-by-state basis by evaluating a historical and comprehensive set of health, environmental and socioeconomic data to determine national health benchmarks and state rankings.

“United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Senior Report is a highly valuable tool to help gain a greater understanding of the health challenges faced by Wisconsin’s seniors,” said Christopher Abbott, regional vice president, UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement. “Wisconsin’s growing senior population points to the urgency of identifying key opportunities for improving senior health and pursuing effective solutions at the national, state, community and family levels.
The America’s Health Rankings Senior Report assesses state-level performance on 34 different elements, including both health determinants and health outcomes.

Wisconsin’s Bill of Health

The America’s Health Rankings Senior Report finds that Wisconsin has its share of strengths and challenges for senior health.

Wisconsin’s Strengths

High percentage of diabetes management
Low percentage of ICU usage
High percentage of able-bodied seniors
Wisconsin’s Challenges

High prevalence of chronic drinking
High prevalence of physical inactivity
Low percentage of creditable drug coverage

Among all 50 States: Minnesota leads the nation for senior health, followed by Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Iowa. Mississippi ranks 50th, preceded by Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Arkansas.

Nationwide, preventable chronic health conditions at troubling levels among seniors

Older Americans are experiencing troubling rates of chronic health conditions, according to the Senior Report. About 80 percent of seniors are living with at least one chronic health condition, while 50 percent of seniors have two or more chronic health conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, the report finds that more than 25 percent of seniors nationwide are obese.

Chronic illness is unnecessarily high among seniors,” said Rhonda Randall, D.O., senior advisor to United Health Foundation and chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. “The coordination of care for seniors, particularly the 50 percent of the population with multiple chronic illnesses, is complex and increases pressure on our country’s caregivers and our health care system.”

UnitedHealthcare Programs Address Health Needs of Wisconsin’s Seniors
Through its portfolio of Medicare plans, UnitedHealthcare supports Medicare beneficiaries in Wisconsin with clinical solutions that help address health concerns underscored in the America’s Health Rankings Senior Report. These programs include:

Integrated disease management and care coordination programs, which provide select Medicare Advantage plan members with chronic health conditions – such as diabetes or certain types of heart disease – needed resources and support;

UnitedHealthcare’s HouseCalls program, offering qualified Medicare Advantage plan members an at-home visit with a health care practitioner to assess health needs and discuss personal health concerns;

UnitedHealthcare’s PharmAssist service, which provides select Medicare Advantage plan members with one-on-one counseling sessions with specialty-trained plan pharmacists to understand how to take their medications as prescribed.

About America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report
America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities offers a comprehensive analysis of senior population health on a national and state-by-state basis across 34 measures of senior health. In commissioning the report, United Health Foundation seeks to promote discussion around the health of Americans 65 years and older while driving communities, governments, stakeholders, families and individuals to take action to improve senior health. Researchers drew data from more than 12 government agencies and leading research organizations to create a focused, uniquely rich data set for measuring senior health at the state level, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Labor, The Dartmouth Atlas Project, the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger and the Commonwealth Fund.In addition to producing the America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, United Health Foundation also produces the annual America’s Health Rankings® report. For 23 years, America’s Health Rankings has provided an analysis of national health on a state-by-state basis by evaluating a historical and comprehensive set of health, environmental and socioeconomic data to determine national health benchmarks and state rankings. The Rankings employs a unique methodology, developed and annually reviewed by a Scientific Advisory Committee of leading public health scholars. For more information on both reports, visit www.americashealthrankings.org.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 780,000 physicians and other health care professionals and 5,900 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 40 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

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