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How Much ‘Skin In The Game’ Do Medicare Beneficiaries Have? The Increasing Financial Burden of Health Care Spending, 1997-2003

This study evaluated the changes in Medicare beneficiaries’ health care spending between 1997 and 2003, and found beneficiaries spent a growing share of their income on health care.

The results showed that median out-of-pocket health spending increased from 11.9% of income in 1997 to 15.5% in 2003, and about four in 10 beneficiaries spent at least one-fifth of their income on health care in 2003. Researchers using data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey found that growth in out-of-pocket health spending outpaced growth in income over time.

The article, “How Much ‘Skin In The Game’ Do Medicare Beneficiaries Have? The Increasing Financial Burden of Health Care Spending, 1997-2003,” was written by Patricia Neuman, Sc.D., and Juliette Cubanski, Ph.D., of the Kaiser Family Foundation; and Katherine A. Desmond, M.S., and Thomas Rice, Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles. The study’s findings were published in the November/December 2007 issue of the journal Health Affairs.

Health Affairs article (Requires subscription)

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.