March 19, 2024

Medicare households have double the healthcare spending burden

Editor's Note

The healthcare spending burden of Medicare households was double that of non-Medicare households in 2022, according to an analysis published by KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) on March 14. 

Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, KFF found that average health-related expenses made up 13.6% of Medicare households’ total spending in 2022 compared to 6.5% for non-Medicare households. This included more spending both as a dollar amount and as a percentage of total household spending. Medicare households spent $7,000 annually on average on health care and had average incomes of $51,800, while non-Medicare households spent $4,900 and had average incomes of $74,100. 

Health-related expenses include insurance premiums, medical expenses such as hospital and doctor visits, prescription drugs, and medical supplies like glasses and hearing aids. In some cases, these costs represented a significant burden. The KFF analysis found that nearly 3 in 10 Medicare households spent 20% or more of their total household spending on health-related expenses, compared to 7% of non-Medicare households. The Consumer Price Index, a measure of price inflation, indicated that inflation in 2022 was at record highs across food, transportation, housing, and health care costs. 

Authors conclude that this burden needs to be considered in policy debates, and should provide support for new policies designed to improve financial protections for Medicare beneficiaries. 

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