Study: Older adults spend large portion of income on healthcare

Share this content:

The elderly are spending an increasing amount of their limited incomes on healthcare, a new study suggests.

Nearly two-fifths of Medicare beneficiaries spent one-fifth of their income on healthcare in 2003. Overall out-of-pocket spending among the elderly increased from 11.9% of income in 1997 to about 16% in 2003, according to a study by Patricia Neuman and Juliette Cubanski of the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Katharine A. Desmond and Thomas Rice of the University of California.

Spending as a share of income increased with age and was highest for those 85 and older, according to the study. Premiums for Medicare and supplemental insurance as well as payments for medical care and prescription drugs all contributed to an increase in out-of-pocket costs, the study found.