Social isolation—or the real lack of meaningful contacts with others—is a significant risk factor for health conditions like heart disease, infections, depression, and premature cognitive decline. It is also linked to higher risk for premature death. Older adults may be especially at risk for social isolation because they are more likely to have experiences that diminish their social contacts—like the death of a spouse or friends and the onset of health problems that impede their ability to socialize. Not only is social isolation bad for health, but it is also costly. Recent research associates social isolation among community-dwelling fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older with $6.5 billion per year in extra Medicare spending. That is comparable to additional program spending for people with arthritis or high blood pressure.