Elderly Americans:

Health, Housing, and Nutrition Gaps Between the Poor and Nonpoor

T-PEMD-92-10: Published: Jun 24, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 24, 1992.

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GAO discussed issues involving the elderly poor and near-poor population, focusing on: (1) the size and characteristics of the population; and (2) the relationship between poverty and various aspects of health care, housing, and nutrition. GAO noted that the elderly poor and near-poor: (1) in 1990, totalled 19 percent of the elderly population, or 5.7 million persons, excluding homeless and borderline poverty level elderly; (2) tend to be elderly women, minorities, and persons over 75 years of age; (3) rely on Social Security benefits as their major source of income; (4) receive 95.7 percent of health insurance coverage through Medicare, but limitations and uncovered costs of the Medicare system account for major expenses to the elderly poor; (5) experience a higher degree of negative health status; (6) renters benefit from public housing, section 8 certificates and vouchers, and section 202 housing; (7) nutritional intake is inadequate and data is limited; and (8) enrollment in government assistance programs is low.

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