The Rising Cost of Living Longer: Analysis of Medicare Spending by Age for Beneficiaries in Traditional Medicare

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 14 January 2015

In the context of ongoing discussions about the federal budget and national debt, policymakers, experts, and the media have called attention to the nation’s growing aging population and the implications for Medicare and the federal budget. At the same time, geriatricians and other providers who care for older patients are giving greater attention to the question of how best to meet the needs of an aging population. Between 2010 and 2050, the United States population ages 65 and older will nearly double, the population ages 80 and older will nearly triple, and the number of nonagenarians and centenarians—people in their 90s and 100s—will quadruple. The aging of the population has important implications for future Medicare spending because beneficiaries ages 80 and older account for a disproportionate share of Medicare expenditures. According to the Congressional Budget Office, population aging is expected to account for a larger share of spending growth on the nation’s major health care programs through 2039 than either “excess spending growth” or subsidies for the coverage expansions provided under the Affordable Care Act. … Read more.

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