Universal health coverage. Practically everyone age 90 and older (99 percent) is covered by health insurance provided by Medicare, and 28 percent also received Medicaid benefits in 2008. About 40 percent of the 90-and-older population purchased additional private health insurance coverage from an insurance company. A quarter of these retirees are covered by health insurance provided by a previous employer or union.
Redefining old age. "Traditionally, the cutoff age for what is considered the 'oldest old' has been age 85," says He. But researchers are considering moving this definition back to age 90. "With a rapidly growing percentage of the older population projected to be 90 and above in 2050, this report provides data for the consideration of moving that yardstick up to 90," says Suzman. "Because of increasing numbers of older people and increases in life expectancy at older ages, the oldest segments of the older population are growing the fastest."