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Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Health Care Spending as a Share of Income Now and Projections for the Future

Medicare helps pay for the health care needs of 59 million people, including adults ages 65 and over and younger adults with permanent disabilities. Even so, many people on Medicare incur relatively high out-of-pocket costs for their health care. This report assesses the current and projected out-of-pocket health care spending burden among Medicare beneficiaries, analyzing spending as a share of Social Security income and total income, for beneficiaries overall, and by demographic, socioeconomic, and health status measures, for 2013 and projections for 2030.

An Overview of Medicare

This issue brief provides an overview of Medicare, the health insurance program for people ages 65 and over and younger people with permanent disabilities. The brief review the characteristics of people on Medicare, what Medicare covers, benefit gaps and supplemental coverage, beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket health care spending, program spending and financing, payment and delivery system reform, and issues for the future of Medicare.

The Biggest Health Issue We Aren’t Debating

In an Axios column, Drew Altman raises a health care issue that isn’t being debated, a large share of the public don’t have the assets to cover the cost sharing in their health plan if they get sick.

No Limit: Medicare Part D Enrollees Exposed to High Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs Without a Hard Cap on Spending

The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit has helped improve the affordability of medications for people with Medicare, but enrollees can face relatively high out-of-pocket drug costs because there is no hard cap on out-of-pocket spending under Part D. This analysis examines out-of-pocket prescription drug spending among Medicare Part D enrollees with costs above the catastrophic coverage threshold.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.