AARP has announced it is establishing a $40 million venture capital fund to invest in products and services aimed at the older adult market, primarily to improve access to health care, invest to enable aging at home and expand marketing for preventive care. It is a nonprofit membership organization for those 50 and older and has nearly 38 million members. It is a powerful lobbying entity and also provides AARP-branded health insurance plans.
The AARP Innovation Fund is being administered by J.P. Morgan Asset Management and will provide capital to companies that are focused on the 50 and older population.
The fund is being established to better serve older Americans who want to use technology as part of their daily lives and retirement plans, AARP stated, noting that this demographic has tremendous buying power and is responsible for $7.1 trillion in annual economic activity.
“AARP has a strong history of leading innovation by changing the marketplace,” AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said in a prepared statement. “Our members are disrupting aging in a variety of ways and so is AARP. The AARP Innovation Fund is the next evolution of our ability to fulfill our social mission by making sure that the needs and interest of those 50-plus are well represented by products and companies.”
AARP will make direct investments in early- to late-stage companies that are developing products for home care, improving convenience and accessibility to health care and preventive health.
Jenkins told Bloomberg Business the first priority of the fund is to help new products get to the market.
“There may or may not be returns, but this is key to serving our members who are looking for dependable solutions,” she told Bloomberg. “Aging is different than it was 10 or 20 years ago, and we need to get the private sector involved.”
The organization said it will encourage technology that enables adults to live at home longer, including home sensor activity tracking, mobile assistance, hearing and vision health, cooking solutions, physical augmentation devices and social communities. The fund will also invest in telemedicine, consumer diagnostics and care transparency tools. Within preventive health, the fund will seek to expand the market for products and services that help prevent serious health conditions.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Endowments & Foundations Group and its private equity group will not make contributions to the fund, but will source and evaluate potential investments for the fund.
“We look forward to working with AARP on this fund that will invest in and support innovative companies creating solutions for the people in this powerful and growing key demographic and their families,” Kathy Rosa, managing director and portfolio manager in J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Private Equity Group. “Our knowledge of the market combined with AARP’s expertise on the wants and needs of those 50-plus, is a powerful combination that will help the AARP Investment Fund invest in innovative companies in the consumer health care space.”
Hundreds of thousands of older adults are looking for jobs right now. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) sees the struggle every day, and has joined forces with RetirementJobs.com to provide opportunities specific to these jobseekers.
Facing limited incomes and rising health care costs, many of today’s older adults need to work to pay the bills past retirement. Others want to keep working but with more flexibility.
Unfortunately, finding a job when over age 55 is not easy. The average duration of unemployment for older jobseekers in June 2014 was 48.1 weeks compared to 28.5 weeks for those under age 55.
“NCOA offers a wide range of training and development opportunities for mature workers through our free online tool, EconomicCheckUp,” said Ramsey Alwin, NCOA Vice President for Economic Security. “Now with the addition of RetirementJobs.com’s established database of mature worker certified employers, we provide a unique, single resource for older adults to prepare for, find, and apply for jobs.”
The employment path on EconomonicCheckUp.org includes:
“We work with employers who know the benefit of hiring mature workers,” said Jocelyn Talbot, Vice President of Sales, RetirementJobs.com. “This partnership with NCOA is a catalyst to connecting skilled workers with the right jobs and developing a stronger marketplace through our successes.”
In addition to enhancing the employment path at EconomicCheckUp, RetirementJobs.com will become a recommendation for eligible individuals looking for work on BenefitsCheckUp, NCOA’s free online tool that helps older adults identify benefits that can save them money and cover the costs of every day expenses.
If you are ready to search for a new job, get started at EconomicCheckUp.org by clicking on “jobs”, or go directly to NCOA.org’s “Find a Job” page.
Visit ncoa.org/MatureWorkers for more information about additional NCOA programs that can help older adults find employment and training.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. It’s mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling.
The #1 career website for jobseekers aged 50+, RetirementJobs.com provides opportunity, inspiration, community and counsel to people over 50 seeking work to match their lifestyle and economic security needs.
Nursing homes receive far more in Medicare payments than it costs them to provide care, exploiting the billing system in some cases by giving patients more therapy services than they need, federal investigators said in a new report.
The report issued last month by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services said that nursing homes regularly filed claims for the highest, most expensive level of therapy, regardless of what patients required.
In recent years, said the inspector general, Daniel R. Levinson, nursing homes have been classifying more and more patients as needing the highest level of therapy and providing exactly the amount required to qualify for high payments.
“Skilled nursing facilities must provide therapy for 720 minutes or more during a seven-day assessment period to bill for ultrahigh therapy,” and they “increasingly provided exactly 720 minutes,” Mr. Levinson said.
The inspector general cited claims data as evidence that some nursing homes had exploited the system “to optimize revenues.” For example, Mr. Levinson said, a Medicare beneficiary who received hospice care before and after her nursing home stay received physical therapy five days a week for five weeks, “even though her medical records indicated that she asked that the therapy be discontinued.” He said the extra billings cost Medicare $1.1 billion in 2012-13.
Medicare classifies nursing home residents into one of 66 groups depending on the patient’s needs. More than one-third of the groups are for patients who require physical, occupational or speech therapy. Medicare pays more for patients who require the most therapy.
The acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Andrew M. Slavitt, did not dispute the findings. He said the current payment system created an incentive for nursing homes to “provide as much therapy to a resident as that resident can tolerate.”
The inspector general said that Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, should consider reducing Medicare payment rates for therapy in nursing homes. Mr. Slavitt agreed, but said Congress would need to provide the agency with “additional statutory authority.”
In any event, Mr. Slavitt said, Medicare will step up efforts to prevent fraud and detect “suspicious billing behavior” by nursing homes.
Federal investigators welcomed that commitment. But it may take some time for Medicare officials to act on the recommendations. The inspector general has documented “inappropriate payments” to nursing homes in many studies over the last 15 years.
In March, an influential federal panel, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, said that Congress should thoroughly revamp payments to nursing homes. Medicare payments to nursing homes, it said, have been at least 10 percent higher than the cost of care for 14 years in a row.
Baby Boomers are reinventing retirement just as they have so many other aspects of their lives. They will live longer and be healthier than their parents and grandparents, and they plan to remain relevant, be fulfilled, and leave legacies. Many will continue to work well into their 70s and 80s, some because they want to, others because they need to.
The coauthors of this practical guide are four Boomer professionals who have walked the walk and transformed themselves from corporate executives, CEOs, consultants, and national security policy experts into a range of new careers that more closely hew to their passions. They interviewed more than 300 people and 30 organizations in the writing of this book.
The Retirement Boom includes tips, tricks, and techniques to help you:
Understand what’s changing in the workplace and the workforce today.
The budget agreement reached by congressional leaders and the White House in late October will prevent a sharp increase in Medicare for more than 15 million older Americans and a deep cut in Social Security benefits for nine million disabled workers, but it will not alter the long-term financial outlook for either program, lawmakers and budget experts said.
AARP praised the agreement though it said the legislation “will not provide a long-term solution to the funding challenge facing the Social Security disability insurance trust fund.”
Without action by Congress, some Medicare beneficiaries were facing an increase of more than 50 percent in their standard monthly premiums, to about $159, from the current amount of a little less than $105.
Instead, if the budget agreement is approved by Congress, the basic Medicare premium would rise in January to $120 a month for about 30 percent of beneficiaries. The annual deductible, now $147, would increase to about $167 for all beneficiaries, rather than the $223 projected under current law.
About 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will not see any increase in their Medicare premiums next year because of a provision of federal law that links premiums to Social Security benefits, which will be frozen in 2016 after a year of unusually low inflation — a byproduct of plummeting gasoline prices. For the third time in 40 years, Social Security will not provide a cost-of-living adjustment in benefits next year.
To make up for the fact that most Medicare beneficiaries will not pay higher premiums next year, the Treasury will provide an infusion of general revenue to Part B of Medicare, which covers doctors’ services, outpatient hospital services and some home health care.
To repay the loan from the Treasury, Medicare beneficiaries will have to pay $3 a month more in premiums over about five years, until 2021.
“This is a creative solution to smooth out increases in Medicare premiums and deductibles without having a major impact on seniors in any given year,” said Patricia H. Neuman, a senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health research organization.
“It helps soften the blow for seniors who would otherwise have seen unprecedented increases in premiums and deductibles,” Ms. Neuman said. “They will still have increases, but much smaller than seniors would have seen without this deal.”
The big increases in premiums under current law would have hit certain high-income people, beneficiaries who are new to Medicare in 2016 and those who do not receive Social Security checks. Under existing law, states would have borne much of the cost because they help pay premiums for low-income people eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
The budget agreement also provides relief to nine million workers and more than 1.7 million children who receive Social Security disability benefits.
The trustees of Social Security, including three cabinet secretaries, said in July that the disability trust fund would be depleted in the last quarter of 2016. After that, they said, benefits would automatically be cut by 19 percent because revenue from payroll taxes would cover only 81 percent of scheduled benefits.
The budget agreement averts that cut by temporarily reallocating Social Security payroll tax revenue from the trust fund for retired workers — $124 billion over three years — to the trust fund that pays disability benefits. The reallocation would not change the overall payroll tax rate but would allow Social Security to pay the full amount of disability benefits until 2022.
The bipartisan bill includes several provisions intended to reduce fraud in Social Security programs. For example, it would define a new felony, conspiracy to commit Social Security fraud, punishable by up to five years in prison and fines up to $250,000.
The bill would also require that initial decisions on disability claims include reviews by a medical doctor or a psychologist. Such experts do not always participate now.
Speaker John A. Boehner said the package was “the first significant reform to Social Security since 1983 and would result in $168 billion in long-term savings.” The estimated savings accumulate over 75 years.
Nancy J. Altman, the president of Social Security Works, an advocacy group that favors expansion of the program, said: “On a number of occasions in the past, Congress has reallocated money between the disability and old-age trust funds as a routine part of its responsibility, without attaching strings to the legislation. But this time, Republicans refused to pass a clean reallocation and insisted on changes in the disability insurance program.”
The budget agreement would save $9 billion over 10 years by limiting what hospitals can charge Medicare for the services of doctors whose practices they purchase in the future. In recent years, many hospitals have bought physicians’ practices and then billed Medicare at the higher rates allowed for hospital outpatient clinics.
The bill would also require manufacturers of generic drugs to provide deeper discounts to Medicaid if the prices of such drugs increase faster than inflation.