Are Health Care Costs a Burden for Older Americans?

Are Health Care Costs a Burden for Older Americans?

Although Medicare covers nearly all Americans age 65 and older, premiums, cost shares, and holes in the benefit package raise concerns about seniors' ability to pay for their health care. This brief, based on newly released data, shows that Medicare Part D, introduced in 2006 to cover prescription drugs, helped reduce out-of-pocket costs. The majority of older adults devoted less than one-eighth of their incomes to health care in 2006. However, nearly half of low-income seniors spent more than 20 percent of their 2006 incomes on health care. Medical costs for seniors should figure into the health-reform debate.

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