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36% of medicare beneficiaries spent 20%+ of total income on healthcare in 2013 — trend expected to increase through 2030

A study, published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, determined 36 percent of traditional Medicare beneficiaries spent at least 20 percent of their total income on out-of-pocket healthcare costs in 2013.

The study anticipates the trend will increase with out-of-pocket healthcare spending taking up at least 50 percent of a Medicare recipient's budget by 2020.

For the study, out-of-pocket spending solely included premiums, deductibles and cost sharing for Medicare-covered services. It did not include either dental services or long-term care, which are not covered through Medicare.

Researchers said while some people on Medicare have low out-of-pocket costs, beneficiaries with modest incomes and significant needs bear the brunt of the cost.

When broken down by category, out-of-pocket spending increased dramatically. Beneficiaries with fair/poor health status spent 43 percent of their total income on healthcare, beneficiaries with an income at or under $20,000 spent 51 percent and beneficiaries who are 85 years or older spent 53 percent.

Researchers concluded, "With rising health care costs representing a growing challenge to the financial security of older adults, these findings have implications for policies that could shift costs on to beneficiaries as part of a broader effort to reduce federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid or social security."

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