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CMS: Health Care Spending on Seniors Lowest Among All Age Groups

Per capita health care spending for older Americans grew 4.1 percent from 2002 to 2010, which is the lowest among any other age groups studied, according to a new report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Office of the Actuary.

The report examines aggregate and per capita health spending by gender and major age groups. The estimates of health spending by age and gender reflect the types of goods and services delivered including hospital care, physician and clinical services, retail prescription drugs and the programs and payers for that care such as Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance.

Slower Medicare spending and continued slow growth in spending for nursing care centers and continuing care retirement communities contributed to the slow rate of growth, according to the report. Additionally, private health insurance spending per enrollee for people ages 65 and older grew at 3% annually over the time period. That’s the slowest growth rate of private health insurance among major age groups.

The study also reveals that out-of-pocket spending per person for the elderly declined 0.4 percent annually over this period.

Interestingly, despite the lower rate of growth among older adults, per person spending by seniors in 2010 at $18,424 was about three times more than the average for working adults at $6,125 and five times more than children at $3,628.

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