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Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Spending for Health Care


Medicare provides vital health care coverage to millions of adults 65 and older and to some younger persons with a disability or end-stage renal disease. Yet, contrary to a common belief, Medicare does not cover all health care–related costs. Many people with Medicare face significant out-of-pocket expenses to meet their health care needs.

In 2017, the average beneficiary in traditional Medicare spent $5,801 on insurance premiums and medical services. One in ten people with Medicare spent at least $10,268. Health care expenses can create a significant financial burden for many Medicare beneficiaries, with half the people in traditional Medicare spending at least 16 percent of their income on health care. These spending levels have remained stable over the last several years.


Suggested citation: 

Noel-Miller, Claire. Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Spending for Health Care. Washington, DC: AARP Public Policy Institute. June 2020.


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