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Wide Disparities in the Income and Assets of People on Medicare by Race and Ethnicity: Now and in the Future

Section 2: Financial Assets and Savings

This section describes the total savings of the Medicare population across race/ethnicity in 2012. Total savings include retirement account holdings (such as IRAs or 401Ks) and other financial assets, including savings accounts, bonds and stocks. Savings are presented on a per person basis; for married people, savings are divided equally between spouses to calculate per capita savings.

Key Findings:

  • Nearly all (92%) Medicare beneficiaries had some savings, but rates were higher among white beneficiaries (95%) than among black and Hispanic beneficiaries (80% and 81%, respectively).  Similarly, one in 20 white beneficiaries did not have savings or were in debt compared to nearly one in five black beneficiaries and Hispanic beneficiaries.
  • Half of all Medicare beneficiaries had less than $63,100 in savings in 2012.  Median savings for white beneficiaries ($85,950) were more than seven times the median savings for black beneficiaries ($11,650) and Hispanic beneficiaries ($12,050).
  • Among beneficiaries with savings, half had less than $77,500 in savings in 2012; median savings for white beneficiaries ($95,900) were nearly five times the median savings for black beneficiaries ($19,700) and nearly four times the median savings for Hispanic beneficiaries ($25,150) in 2012.
  • While the top 10 percent of all black and Hispanic beneficiaries had savings above $137,200 and $215,550, respectively, the top 10 percent of white beneficiaries had savings above $723,200 in 2012.
  • The share of beneficiaries with any savings and the median savings among beneficiaries increased with income, with large racial/ethnic differences in savings across all income levels. Among beneficiaries who had incomes over 400 percent of the federal poverty level, median savings for white beneficiaries ($239,050) was nearly five times the median savings for black beneficiaries ($48,550) and more than three times the median savings for Hispanic beneficiaries ($71,400).
  • Median savings were higher among beneficiaries with more years of education, but differences in savings by race/ethnicity were evident across all education groups with the greatest disparities among beneficiaries with the most years of education. Among college-educated beneficiaries, median savings for white beneficiaries ($253,550) was nearly five times the median savings for black beneficiaries ($52,250) and more than four times the median savings for Hispanic beneficiaries ($57,000) in 2012.
  • Median savings were lowest among those age 85 and older ($40,900) and those under age 65 ($27,050), but median savings differed across race/ethnicity for all age groups.  Among beneficiaries between the ages of 65 and 74, median savings among white beneficiaries ($118,400) was about six times the median savings among black and Hispanic beneficiaries $19,700 and $17,500, respectively) in 2012.
  • Median per capita savings were higher among married beneficiaries ($84,550) than among divorced, widowed, or single beneficiaries ($53,750, $41,450, and $19,300, respectively), with racial/ethnic differences in median savings across all marital groups. Among married beneficiaries, median per capita savings among white beneficiaries was $107,350, between five and six times the median savings among black and Hispanic beneficiaries ($18,800 and $19,650, respectively) in 2012.

 Section 1: Income                                                                                                                                                        Section 3: Home Equity  

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Section 2: Financial Assets and Savings

exhibits

8477 Income and Assets - Exhibit 2.1
Share of Medicare Beneficiaries with Savings, by Race/Ethnicity, 2012

Nearly all (92%) Medicare beneficiaries had some savings, but rates were higher among white beneficiaries (95%) than among black and Hispanic beneficiaries (80% and 81%, respectively).  Similarly, one in 20 white beneficiaries did not have savings or were in debt, compared to nearly one in five black and Hispanic beneficiaries.

8477 Income and Assets - Exhibit 2.2
Median Per Capita Savings of the Medicare Population, Total and by Race/Ethnicity, 2012

Half of all Medicare beneficiaries had less than $63,100 in savings in 2012.  Median savings for white beneficiaries ($85,950) were more than seven times the median savings for black beneficiaries ($11,650) and Hispanic beneficiaries ($12,050) in 2012.

8477 Income and Assets - Exhibit 2.3
Median Per Capita Savings of the Medicare Population, Total and by Race/Ethnicity, 2012

Among beneficiaries with savings, half had less than $77,500 in savings in 2012; median savings for white beneficiaries ($95,900) were nearly five times the median savings for black beneficiaries ($19,700) and nearly four times the median savings for Hispanic beneficiaries ($25,150) in 2012.

8477 Income and Assets - Exhibit 2.4
Distribution of Savings of the Medicare Population, Among Those with Savings, By Race/Ethnicity, 2012

The top 10 percent of black and Hispanic beneficiaries had savings above $137,200 and $215,550, respectively, while the top 10 percent of white beneficiaries had savings above $723,200 in 2012. Similarly, while the top 1 percent of black and Hispanic beneficiaries had more than $699,450 and $1,082,750 in savings, respectively, the top 1 percent of white beneficiaries had more than $3,934,650 in savings in 2012 (not shown).

8477 Income and Assets - Exhibit 2.5
Median Per Capita Savings of the Medicare Population, by Federal Poverty Level and Race/Ethnicity, 2012

The share of beneficiaries with any savings and the median savings among beneficiaries increased with income, with large racial/ethnic differences in savings across all income levels.  Among beneficiaries who had incomes over 400 percent of the federal poverty level, median savings for white beneficiaries ($239,050) was nearly five times the median savings for black beneficiaries ($48,550) and more than three times the median savings for Hispanic beneficiaries ($71,400) in 2012.

8477 Income and Assets - Exhibit 2.6
Median Per Capita Savings of the Medicare Population, by Education Level and Race/Ethnicity, 2012

Median savings were higher among beneficiaries with more years of education, but differences in savings by race/ethnicity were evident across all education groups with the greatest disparities among beneficiaries with the most years of education. Among college-educated beneficiaries, median savings for white beneficiaries ($253,550) was nearly five times the median savings for black beneficiaries ($52,250) and more than four times the median savings for Hispanic beneficiaries ($57,000) in 2012.

8477 Income and Assets - Exhibit 2.7
Median Per Capita Savings of the Medicare Population, by Age and Race/Ethnicity, 2012

Median savings were lowest among those age 85 and older ($40,900) and those under age 65 ($27,050), but median savings differed across race/ethnicity for all age groups.  Among beneficiaries between the ages of 65 and 74, median savings among white beneficiaries ($118,400) was about six times the median savings among black and Hispanic beneficiaries $19,700 and $17,500, respectively) in 2012. 

8477 Income and Assets - Exhibit 2.8
Median Per Capita Savings of the Medicare Population, by Marital Status and Race/Ethnicity, 2012

Median per capita savings were higher among married beneficiaries ($84,550) than among divorced, widowed, or single beneficiaries ($53,750, $41,450, and $19,300, respectively), with racial/ethnic differences in median savings across all marital groups. Among married beneficiaries, median per capita savings among white beneficiaries was $107,350, between five and six times the median savings among black and Hispanic beneficiaries ($18,800 and $19,650, respectively) in 2012.

Section 1: Income Section 3: Home Equity

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