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KFF Reports on Financial Situation of Medicare Beneficiaries in 2023

An issue brief out this week from KFF confirms what Medicare Rights knows to be true from helping our clients and callers: While overall satisfaction with Medicare is high, the financial burdens of accessing needed health care can prove challenging for beneficiaries. The report notes that more than one third of Medicare beneficiaries have delayed or gone without physician, vision, dental, or prescription care within the last year due to cost and that Medicare households spend a larger share of their total budget on health care-related expenses than non-Medicare households.

The brief, examining the income, assets, and home equity of Medicare beneficiaries, breaks down these numbers based on age, race, ethnicity, and gender, and finds that “most Medicare beneficiaries live on relatively low incomes and have modest financial resources to draw upon in retirement if they need to cover . . . long term services and supports [not covered by Medicare], with notable disparities.”  KFF found that in 2023, one in four beneficiaries were living on incomes below $21,000 per person, and half had incomes below $36,000 per person. For savings, they found that a quarter held savings below $16,950, and half had savings below $103,800. Both median income and assets declined with age among older adults, were lower for women than men, and were substantially lower for Black and Hispanic than White beneficiaries.

These numbers are a stark reminder that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Congress must set policies in line with this reality and the needs of the majority of beneficiaries who live on limited means. We cannot justify cuts or cost shifting by focusing on the “relatively small share of Medicare beneficiaries [who] enjoy substantial wealth and financial security.”

Read the full report here.

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