Medicare Costs: How much can seniors afford to pay?

Can seniors afford to pay more of their health care costs?  Here is some interesting information from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare:

Going forward, Medicare beneficiaries are projected to lay out as much as a quarter of their income on health care in 2020, up from around a sixth now. “Some have the impression that seniors are quite wealthy and could afford more premiums,” says Tricia Neuman, director of the Medicare Policy Project at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “The numbers tell a different story.”

Median income for women over 65 now stands at roughly $15,000. (This estimate is based on a Census Bureau report showing that, in 2008, the average woman over 65 lived on $14,500.) Half earn less. That $15,000 includes income from all sources: Social Security, wages, self-employment, pensions, government assistance, and investment income. As of 2010, the Current Population Survey shows that households headed by someone over 65 reported  $31,400 in joint income.

Even relatively affluent seniors are hardly rich. Singles over 65 who earn as little as $33,000 rank among the wealthiest 20 percent. At first glance, married couples appear to be doing better: to make it into that top quintile they must be earning at least $85,000 a year. But this is in large part because in many cases one spouse is under 65 and still working. In 2008, 41 percent of senior households reported earned income. But over time, as the working partner retires, older couples are forced to live on less.

The full article can be found here: http://www.ncpssm.org/entitledtoknow/?p=2010

 

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