Tracey, age 56, was laid off from her bank job 6 months ago; she has been applying for various positions with very little response and only one interview, and her state unemployment insurance has just ended. As a single mother, she was unable to save much for her retirement. She now fears she will run through her small retirement savings to pay the mortgage on her condo and other bills. She has also been without health insurance since losing her job because she couldn’t afford COBRA payments or the insurance available through the ACA. Tracey is considering selling her condo and moving in with one of her siblings while she continues to look for work. She’s hoping she can eventually find a job with health insurance benefits that will last until she qualifies for Medicare.

1.What do you think are some reasons that Tracey’s economic situation is so unstable?

2.The ADEA, or Age Discrimination in Employment Act, made it illegal to discriminate against older workers because of their age, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report on the state of age discrimination stated that “age discrimination remains a significant and costly problem for workers, their families, and our economy.” How do employers get away with discrimination against older workers in spite of the ADEA?

3.What policy changes would you propose that could help someone in Tracey’s situation obtain healthcare coverage?

4.What prejudices do you think you hold against older people in the workforce? Why?