This proposal seeks funding for a Phase I grant to develop tools for older Americans to use in assessing their financial needs and resources, including those related to health care. The Orlin Financial Planner will allow older Americans to access accurate, easy-to-understand information on their probable future financial needs, including health care needs, and to integrate that information with information on potential resources. This will in turn allow them a much-needed opportunity to make more realistic and appropriate financial and health care choices. The Orlin Financial Planner will allow users to assess their likely financial needs under different sets of circumstances, while also providing information on the probability that such circumstances will occur. It will incorporate information on the resources available from public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and will allow individuals to assess the impacts of alternative insurance options. It will also allow users to integrate this health information with other data on their financial resources, and to estimate other future needs. The Orlin Financial Planner represents an entirely new approach to health and financial planning for older Americans. It is unique in relying on real experience, represented by large archives of economic and health data, rather than on made-up scenarios to project the consequences of specific choices. Further, its emphasis on health needs and choices will make it the only available planning tool that realistically addresses the major financial concern of most older people. Better planning can reduce health care costs, target spending more appropriately, and allow people to make a more efficient use of both public and private health care resources. Older Americans account for the majority of both public and private health care spending, and targeting those resources more effectively could not only improve lives, but also result in lower long-run health care costs for American society as a whole.
Although a wealth of data on health care costs and associated financial needs is collected by NIH, ordinary Americans cannot generally access it to analyze their own likely needs and resources, a task that is becoming more complex as new health care legislation is enacted. The Orlin Planner will leverage these data and provide web-based financial planning tool for older Americans to realistically assess their long-run health and financial needs, promoting improved financial, health behavior, and health care choices. Older Americans account for the majority of both public and private health care spending, and targeting those resources more effectively could not only improve lives, but also result in lower long-run health care costs for American society as a whole.