A new study finds that the high cost of out of pocket medical expenses at the end of life is a significant financial burden for older adults and their families. Most of these expenses stemmed from long term care costs, raising questions about current policies and individuals’ retirement saving habits.
The study, funded by the National Institute on Aging and conducted by Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers, found that the average person with Medicare paid $38,688 for medical expenses, which included the cost of hiring at home caregivers and other long term care expenses, in the last five years of life. This number varied significantly among seniors. The top quartile of Medicare recipients averaged costs of $101,791 and the bottom quartile averaged costs of $5,163. Spending an average of $66,155, seniors with Alzheimer’s disease spent more than the overall participants’ average and more than older adults with any other type of illness.
Regardless of costs paid, one quarter of Medicare recipients spent more than their total assets on health care expenses in their final five years, while 43 percent of Medicare recipients spend more than their total assets, excluding their home value, on these expenses. Most of the expenses were associated with long term care, which many individuals erroneously believe to be covered by Medicare. "Medicare provides a significant amount of health care coverage to people over 65, but it does not cover co-payments, deductibles, homecare services, or non-rehabilitative nursing home care," said the study's lead author, Amy S. Kelley, MD, Assistant Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "I think a lot of people will be surprised by how high these out-of-pocket costs are in the last years of life."
Researchers are hopeful that the results of this study will influence health policy and encourage individuals to prepare more for retirement costs. "Prior to this study there was not a lot of data on the extent of out-of-pocket spending,” said Dr. Kelley. “This information can serve as an important tool to help individuals set realistic expectations for end-of-life health care costs, and for government officials to use in discussing Medicare policies."
Read more about the health care study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Community Awareness and Education, Consumer Funding Resources, Facts and Figures, Federal Agency Activity, Finance, News, Research
The number of consumers age 60 and higher with student loan debt has quadrupled since 2005, and the amount they owe also has increased dramatically. N...
Facts and Figures, Health and Wellness, Health Care, Medication Technology & Informatics, News
The use of connected health devices is still low across the globe, with China leading the world in their adoption, according to a new poll from Ipsos,...
Facts and Figures, Research
A team of researchers set out to discover whether and why an older adult successfully recovers from a stumble, finding that it’s not only lower limb s...
Thank you for being a loyal reader of Argentum Update in 2016. We have compiled the most widely read articles of the year for your review and referenc...
Community Awareness and Education, Employee Compensation, Finance, Financing Senior Living – Consumer Education, News, Research
More than half of older Americans in the lowest socioeconomic tier can expect to face an income gap if they retire when they would like to, according ...
Clinical Quality and Quality Care Delivery, Facts and Figures, Federal Agency Activity, Long Term Care Insurance, News
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has unveiled two new websites for consumers that include information about the quality of inpatient rehab...
Clinical Quality and Quality Care Delivery, Facts and Figures, Financing Senior Living – Consumer Education, News, Research
The Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics has launched the third wave of the National Study of Long-Term Care Providers,...
All States, Community Awareness and Education, Facts and Figures, Hawaii, Health and Wellness, Mississippi, News, Research
America’s Health Rankings Annual Report was released this week, offering benchmarks to compare state performance and national standards, and showing t...
Community Awareness and Education, Federal Agency Activity, News, Research
The Food and Drug Administration has issued guidance on how medical device firms let the public know about side effects that are discovered once those...
Clinical Quality and Quality Care Delivery, Federal Agency Activity, Legislation, News, Public Policy, Research
On December 7, the Senate voted 94-5 to approve the 21st Century Cures Act bill. The bill seeks to expedite the process of getting new drugs and medi...