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Press Release

Philadelphia Baby Boomers Keeping Booming, According to New Survey from Independence Blue Cross

Philadelphia, PA - November 30, 2011 - As the first wave of the Baby Boomer Generation becomes eligible for and selects Medicare options in 2011, Philadelphia, PA-based Independence Blue Cross (IBC) today issued the results of a new online survey aimed at better understanding the unique attitudes and actions of Philadelphia-area Boomers. Conducted by Harris Interactive®, IBC examined Baby Boomers' health, wellness, and lifestyles, and asked those surveyed to also share some iconic memories of Philadelphia. 

"Independence Blue Cross has been providing comprehensive health care options to Philadelphians since 1938, predating the post-war baby boom," said Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO of IBC. "In so many ways, IBC has been with Philadelphia Baby Boomers during every step of their lives. As this influential generation becomes Medicare eligible, we want and need to know them better, especially on the cusp of health care reform, which will change the nature of health care for all populations. This survey enabled us to ask Philadelphia Boomers questions about their daily lives, habits, and activities but also, to learn how living in the Philadelphia area has influenced them." 

For this survey, Boomers aged 55-67 and living in the five county Philadelphia region were asked to offer their views on health and wellness as compared to their parents' generation. The findings were noteworthy, especially their views on many of the health and wellness questions, when compared to national statistics. Key findings include:

  • Physical activity: While Philadelphia regularly finishes in the Top 10 of America's most unhealthy and/or overweight cities, 43 percent of Philadelphia Boomers described themselves as extremely/very physically active, which was significantly higher than the national response at 32 percent.
    • 70 percent of Philadelphia Boomers surveyed consider themselves much/somewhat more active than their parents were at the same age, with 40 percent describing themselves as much more active. Whether this activity stems from a conscious commitment to exercise or busier lifestyles, the increase in activity, even if just walking, is a key element of preventative health and wellness across all generations.
  • Desire to lose weight: Despite the reporting of strong physical activity among Philadelphia Boomers and the availability of programs aimed at better nutrition and weight control, 75 percent reported that they need to lose weight, while 44 percent reported needing to lose more than ten pounds.
    • Interestingly, the percentage of respondents who believe that they needed to lose more than ten pounds is significantly higher among the national sample (58 percent) compared to Philadelphia Boomers (44 percent).
  • Understanding health care reform: Although there is much information available on national health care reform readily available, including IBC's, nearly half (46 percent) of Philadelphia Boomers were not sure how health care reform through the Affordable Care Act will personally affect them at age 65 and older.
  • Having health coverage in retirement: Five percent of Philadelphia Boomers currently have no health care coverage at all. When asked about anticipated health care coverage in retirement, 16 percent "did not know" if or how they might get coverage. 

From the lifestyle perspective, the most notable statistic to emerge was that 35 percent of Philadelphia Boomers are the parent of a child who is living at home with them. Twenty-seven percent of those respondents have a child 22 years or older currently living at home with them. This is significantly higher than the national findings where only 17 percent of Boomers are the parent of a child living at home with them and 12 percent have a child 22 years or older currently living at home with them.

Iconic Philadelphia memories

Based in Philadelphia for more than 70 years, IBC wanted to know how Boomers best remembered the city and what moment stood out for them. The favorite memory of Philadelphia Boomers was the ending of the city's 25 year sports championship drought with the 2008 World Series Celebration (24 percent). Yet, 20 percent of Philadelphia Boomers harkened back to their youth and named American Bandstand with Dick Clark in the 1950s and 1960s, which taped at a Philadelphia TV station, as their favorite memory. 

Among Philadelphia Boomers, the average number of years living in the five-county Philadelphia region was 48 years.  Sixty-five percent of respondents have lived in the region for at least fifty years.

"Such insight into the Philadelphia Boomer provides IBC with valuable information that will allow us to better serve and communicate with this influential generation," said Robert J. Smith, vice president, sales and marketing for IBC's Government Markets. "Whether knowing that older people in our region have increased their physical activity or face the complexities of now supporting both adult children and aging parents, this survey provides us with a valuable glimpse into the realities and challenges facing them as they engage Medicare options, such as Keystone Select 65, in the coming years."

For more information about IBC's new survey results and Medicare options and offerings, please visit:

Harris Interactive® fielded the study online in the United States on behalf of Independence Blue Cross from October 20-28, 2011, interviewing a nationwide sample of 802 U.S. adults and a localized sample of 302 Philadelphia residents, aged 55-67 years. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.1 million people. For 73 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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