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Key Issues in Understanding the Economic and Health Security of Current and Future Generations of Seniors

As part of broad deficit-reduction plans, policymakers are considering reforms to the nation’s three major entitlement programs – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – that could significantly affect the economic security of seniors in their retirement years. This brief examines the role of these programs in ensuring seniors’ financial security as well as the challenges facing current and future generations when it comes to economic and health security.

Drawing from current research and data, the brief examines the interrelated nature of economic and health security, including the challenges seniors face as medical costs consume a significant portion of their budgets and with most seniors relying on Social Security for the bulk of their income. It also examines the retirement outlook for future generations of seniors in light of rising health care costs and projections of minimal income growth among most seniors. The brief includes a special focus on seniors with low-to-moderate incomes, who are more likely to be women, black, and Hispanic.

The brief is a product of the Kaiser Project on Medicare’s Future, which focuses on producing timely analysis of leading reforms affecting people on Medicare.

Issue Brief (.pdf)