AARP study focuses on Medicare spending

Half of all Medicare beneficiaries spent at least $3,595, or 18 percent, of their own money on health care in 2011, a new study by AARP states.

The study assesses the out-of-pocket spending burden on Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the traditional Medicare program, using data from the most-recent Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. It found that while Medicare “is a vital program that helps older adults and people with a disability pay for needed health care services,” it does not cover all health care costs.

Paying for needed health care costs was more of a burden “for the sickest, oldest and near-poor beneficiaries.” One in every 10 Medicare beneficiaries spent more than $10,400 for out-of-pocket expenses during the survey year of 2011.

The study stated that 88 percent of Medicare participants had some form of supplemental coverage. So even with this extra coverage, some Medicare beneficiaries faced high costs for services, especially if they became sick.

Total mean and median out-of-pocket spending was highest for those 85 and over, and about 10 percent higher for women than for men. Health care spending tended to rise with income, but spending as a percentage of income was higher for those with lower income levels.

Michael Pramik

Michael Pramik is communication strategist for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and editor of the PERSpective blog. As an experienced business journalist, he clarifies complex pension policies and helps members make smart choices to secure their retirement.

Michael Pramik

Communication Strategist

10 thoughts on “AARP study focuses on Medicare spending

  • November 17, 2015 at 9:44 am
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    “Paying for needed health care costs was more of a burden “for the sickest, oldest and near-poor beneficiaries.” ”

    “Total mean and median out-of-pocket spending was highest for those 85 and over, and about 10 percent higher for women than for men. Health care spending tended to rise with income, but spending as a percentage of income was higher for those with lower income levels.”

    We really had to have a survey to tell us this? Really?

    I’d be very cautious (and wish OPERS would as well) about using a source (AARP) that has a lobbying arm that supports only left leaning issues and Democrat party candidates; the cynically named Affordable Care Act that the left foisted upon us being the single most accountable cause for the dramatic rise in health care costs creating so much turmoil for us and many, many others. AARP is not a benevolent association/organization. They sell products (mostly insurances) for profit and have an agenda.

    Reply
    • December 3, 2015 at 8:33 pm
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      Do they pay Federal Taxes on their Insurance Products. By the way AARP sells polices on the Opers One Exchange. Insurance advisor tried to sell a Spouse the Policy because it was #.00 a month cheaper how much are they making on the sale?

      Reply
  • November 18, 2015 at 3:37 pm
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    WHAT INSURANCE CO.’S DOES TOWER WATSON , ONE EXCHANGE OFFER OPERS.!!!!!
    I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE COPIES TO REVIEW THEM TO MAKE A RIGHT CHOSE !! I AND WIFE ARE 85 YEARS AND NOT COMPUTER WIZE, I AM AT THE LIBRARY GETTING! HELP.
    NO MATTER WHO I TALK TO CONECTOR OR TOWER THEY DO NOT HAVE UP TO DATA
    INFO. ETC . OR ??????
    I E MAIL. TOWER WATSON & RECIEVED A CALL FROM THEM WITH NO HELP BUT WAS ADVISE A SENIOR ADVISER WOULD CALL. THAT WAS 2 DAYS AGO. I NEED PRINTED INFO.

    THIS IS LIKE A CHINESE FIRE DRILL !
    x CHINA MARINE

    Reply
  • November 18, 2015 at 5:08 pm
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    Since the (Fri.) Jan. 1 2016 benefit payment cannot be paid until the next business day,
    will retirees not receive their payment until Mon. Jan. 4?
    ..thanks

    Reply
    • November 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm
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      Floyd,

      That is correct. IRS rules require us to make that payment in 2016, so Jan. 4 is the first business day of the month.

      –Ohio PERS

      Reply
  • November 23, 2015 at 12:44 pm
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    OPERS, What are you doing to help our retirees like Mr. Pallante? I’m not yet retired, and I dread when the day comes that I have to use this new system. I feel very sorry for our older retirees who are not all that familiar with computers, internet, etc. No one is helping them maneuver their way – seems like OPERS may have dropped the ball on these folks.

    Reply
    • December 10, 2015 at 9:14 am
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      Cheryl,

      This is why we recommend asking a lot of questions during the enrollment call. Also, the OneExchange/OPERS portal has a lot of information he is seeking.

      –Ohio PERS

      Reply
  • November 24, 2015 at 8:12 pm
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    I am trying to find out about everything I can about signing up for my insurance but do not have a aapt to talk with the connector rep till Dec. 7. can I sing up that day will we have coverage come Jan. 1 2016. Also how will the HRA be disbursed. I have my insurance payment taken out of my retirement check will my new insurance be taken out or will I have to send in payment?

    Reply
    • November 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm
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      Judy,

      Regarding your HRA funds, you first pay for the premium and other covered expenses. Then, you submit a request to OneExchange for reimbursement from the HRA.

      –Ohio PERS

      Reply

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