Casey Schwarz

Senior Counsel, Education & Federal Policy

Tenuous Financial Situation for Older Adults in 2019 Does Not Bode Well for Their Post-Coronavirus Security

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released a report detailing how financially secure or insecure Medicare beneficiaries were in 2019. Consistent with previous years, the report shows that any stereotype of baby boomers as uniformly affluent is deeply misguided. Instead, half of people with Medicare have incomes below $29,650 and one in four live on less than $17,000. Savings rates are similarly dire. Half of Medicare beneficiaries have below $73,000 in resources, one in four has less than $8,300, and about 1 in 9 has no savings or is in debt. They also face significant out-of-pocket health care expenses in absolute terms and as a percentage of their income.

Trustees Reports Reflect Largely Unchanged and Improved Projections

The Social Security and Medicare Trustees reports were released this week. The reports include short- and long-term projections for the financial situation of the Social Security Retirement and Disability and the Medicare HI (Part A) and SMI (Part B) trust funds. The findings are largely consistent with those from 2019 and confirm the Medicare and Social Security programs are strong and built to last.

Proposed Rule Would Drastically Affect Access to Food Stamp Benefits

This week, the Medicare Rights Center provided comment to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) in response to a proposed rule that would dramatically affect access to benefits by cutting billions of dollars of funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also referred to as food stamps.

CMS Medicaid Demonstrations Lack Transparency, GAO Finds

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report this week finding that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is insufficiently open about Medicaid demonstrations. Demonstrations allow states to test new approaches to delivering services under the Medicaid Program. Currently, demonstrations account for nearly a third of Medicaid spending.

CMS Releases Early Look at Medicare Beneficiary Survey Data

This week, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an “early look” at the 2017 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) results, including preliminary estimates about the Medicare population. The MCBS targets the Medicare population that resides in “the community” and does not include individuals who live in a nursing facility.

Middle-Income Older Adults Face Insufficient Resources for Housing and Health Care

This week, Health Affairs released a report finding that, increasingly, middle-income seniors will have not enough money to cover the cost of housing and healthcare. The authors project that by 2029, 14.4 million people over age 75 will be “middle income.” Around 60% of these older adults will have mobility limitations and 20% of whom will have high health care needs, but their incomes will put them at risk of not being able to afford health care or housing. Unfortunately, middle-income seniors are not served by the private seniors housing industry nor by the supportive housing available to lower income individuals. This means that 54% of these individuals will not have sufficient resources to pay for the level of care provided in senor housing.