KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

New Analysis Finds More Seniors Living In Poverty

The estimate, which takes health spending and other factors into account, concluded that 1 in 7 seniors lives in poverty. Projections indicate that number could go up if certain Medicare reforms took effect.

Politico: Report: More Seniors Are Living In Poverty
An alternative census estimate shows that more of America's seniors than originally thought are living in poverty -- and that means the poverty rate could spike under certain Medicare reforms, a new analysis finds. The estimate, which takes into account health spending and regional cost of living, finds 1 in 7 seniors lives in poverty. It was previously thought that just 1 in 10 did (Smith, 5/21).

The Washington Post: Senior Poverty Is Much Worse Than You Think
But under the [supplemental poverty measure], you'd count as poor as $15,000 – $10,000 = $5,000, which is below the relevant SPM threshold. And despite having Medicare, many seniors struggle with out-of-pocket medical bills. As my colleague Michelle Singletary pointed out over the weekend, the Employee Benefit Research Institute has found Medicare only pays for about 60 percent of seniors' total health costs. Sarah has written about how out-of-pocket costs tend to pile up particularly at the end of seniors' lives. Due in part to such burdens, a new Kaiser Family Foundation report finds that the SPM poverty rate for senior citizens is actually higher than the official rate: 15 percent vs. 9 percent. And when you include people living within 200 percent of the poverty line, the picture under SPM looks even worse (Matthews, 5/20).

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