Medicare Your Coverage Options

People with Medicare typically spend over $4,000 for care

Written by Diane Archer

Most people look forward to enrolling in Medicare. After all, traditional Medicare gives you a wide choice of doctors and hospitals anywhere in the country. And if you have supplemental coverage to fill gaps, you have virtually no out-of-pocket costs for medical and hospital services. But, even with Medicare, people typically spend more than $4,000 a year for care Medicare does not pay for.

A new report for the Commonwealth Fund by Cathy Schoen, Karen Davis and Amber Willink reveals that millions of the 56 million people with Medicare spend a sizable portion of their income on health care. Here’s some of what they found:

  • More than one in four people with Medicare–15 million people–spend 20 percent or more of their income on premiums and health care costs Medicare does not cover, including 40 percent of people with incomes between 100 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • People with Medicare spend an average of $3,024 on health care costs Medicare does not cover, in addition to premiums.
    • Medicare supplemental coverage or “Medigap” typically costs $2,400 a year.
    • If you do not have supplemental coverage, the Medicare hospital deductible alone is $1,300, and you pay 20 percent of Medicare’s approved cost for all medical care.
  • People without supplemental coverage spend an average of $5,374 on health care costs Medicare does not cover.
  • Only about half of people with incomes under 100 percent of the federal poverty level have full Medicaid to cover costs that Medicare does not cover. About 11 million people with incomes under 135 percent of the federal poverty level have either full Medicaid or partial Medicaid, through the Medicare Savings Program, which helps with premiums and copays.

Here’s more from Just Care:


1 Comment

  • I’m on Medicare and a supplement. I recently had knee replacement surgery. My surgeon had an ice therapy unit and a rental knee flex unit delivered to my home. We were told to bring both with us to the hospital. While I was recovering from surgery another ice therapy appeared in my room. I then went to a rehab hospital and all three units went with me. Medicare paid for both ice units and the rental on the flex unit. While in rehab they hooked up the ice unit once.
    It is frustrating that my surgeon didn’t take my lifestyle circumstances into account before he ordered the equipment. I live alone and could not lift either of the units and have no one coming in that could help me. The second ice unit was just a way to increase hospital revenue because the first unit was sitting on the floor in my hospital room.
    Medicare and my supplement paid all the charges for all three units. This kind of thing is where Medicare could save big money without even blinking.

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