How Much 'Skin In The Game' Do Medicare Beneficiaries Have? The Increasing Financial Burden Of Health Care Spending, 1997-2003

Neuman, Patricia; Cubanski, Juliette; Desmond, Katherine A.; Rice, Thomas H.
November 2007
Health Affairs;Nov/Dec2007, Vol. 26 Issue 6, p1692
Academic Journal
Rising health costs and an aging population present critical policy challenges. This paper examines the financial burden of out-of-pocket health spending among Medicare beneficiaries between 1997 and 2003. Over this period, median out-of-pocket spending as a share of income increased from 11.9 percent to 15.5 percent. In 2003, the 25 per- cent of beneficiaries with the largest burden spent at least 29.9 percent of their income on health care, while 39.9 percent spent more than a fifth of their income on health care. Results suggest that sustained increases in out-of-pocket spending could make health care less affordable for all but the highest-income beneficiaries.


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