Medicare is leaving large numbers of the program’s beneficiaries without at least some of the care they need.
According to the Commonwealth Fund’s annual health care affordability survey,
- One-third of Medicare beneficiaries said it was difficult to afford health care costs, including more than half of beneficiaries under age 65.
- More than one in five beneficiaries reported delaying or skipping needed health care because of the cost, including more than four in 10 under age 65.
- More than one in five beneficiaries said health care costs made it harder for them to afford food and utility bills, including more than four in 10 under age 65.
These problems pose a particular challenge for community safety-net hospitals like those that are part of the Alliance of Safety-Net Hospitals because the areas they serve have especially large numbers of low-income residents, including low-income residents insured by Medicare. As such, their patients are more likely than those of other hospitals to lack the resources to pay for the services that Medicare does not.
Learn more about the gaps between what Medicare covers and what its beneficiaries need and how other insured individuals cope with the health care costs their insurance does not cover from the Commonwealth Fund article “Can Medicare Beneficiaries Afford Their Health Care?” and the research from which the article drawn, the Commonwealth Fund report “Paying for It: How Health Care Costs and Medical Debt Are Making Americans Sicker and Poorer.”