Health Care Costs to Rise Faster than Medicare Beneficiaries’ Income, Study Shows
Out-of-pocket health care costs for Medicare beneficiaries will rise substantially faster than the incomes of elderly Americans over the next quarter-century, according to a new Urban Institute report released Jan. 2. The AP/Dallas Morning News reports that the study, funded by the Commonwealth Fund, also finds that "those who are poorer, sicker and older will disproportionately absorb the rising costs" (AP/Dallas Morning News, 1/3). Some of the report's findings and projections include:
- Out-of-pocket health care costs "for services not covered by Medicare" (which can include prescription drug costs, premiums and medical services) averaged $3,142 in 2000. However, by 2025 that figure will reach $5,248 in 2000 dollars.
- Average out-of-pocket costs for "older low-income women" in poor health will increase from $5,969 to $9,378 in that same period.
- By 2025, all Americans over 65 will spend 29.9% of their incomes on out-of-pocket health care costs, a roughly 10% increase from 2000. "Older low-income women in poor health" are projected to spend 71.8% of their income on health care.
- Between 2000 and 2025, the Medicare population will increase from 40 million to 70 million, necessitating that the program "deal with escalating health costs."