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Tuesday, 9th June 2009

Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Spending for Health Care Services

Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Spending for Health Care Services
Source: AARP Policy & Research

The Medicare program pays for health care services for adults age 65 and older and certain individuals with disabilities. While most have supplemental coverage, out-of-pocket (OOP) health care spending presents a significant financial burden for many Medicare beneficiaries. The poor, and those in poor health, face the highest burden, even with programs like Medicaid, which is intended to help these populations.

These publications examine Medicare beneficiaries' OOP spending for health care services. Beneficiaries spent an average of $4,394 of their own money on health care services in 2005—about 28 percent of income.

One option for limiting such high levels of cost exposure is a cap on OOP spending in the Medicare program. An even better option would be to combine a cap with an expansion of programs intended to help low-income beneficiaries.

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