Two-thirds of older Americans see health care costs as a financial burden: survey
By Brad Dress
June 15, 2022
At least two-thirds of older Americans see health care costs as a financial burden, according to a new West Health-Gallup survey published Wednesday.
About 24 percent of Americans ages 50-64 say health care costs are a major financial burden, compared to 48 percent who say the costs are a minor burden, according to the survey.
Of Americans ages 65 and older, 15 percent call it a major burden and 51 percent a minor burden.
The population aged 65 and older is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years as the baby boomer generation ages past the threshold.
About 10,000 boomers a day cross the age threshold. By 2030, all boomers — about 77 million people — will be at least 65 years old, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
At the same time, health care costs are expected to increase. The out-of-pocket costs for older Americans averaged $6,883 in 2019, up 41 percent from 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported.
Although most older Americans are covered under Medicare, they pay more than $1,000 on average than the general population because Medicare does not cover all expenses, such as dental, vision and hearing services. Increased demand because of the high number of older adults is also pushing up costs.
The West Health-Gallup survey shows 37 percent of U.S. adults ages 65 and older are extremely concerned or concerned they will be unable to pay for needed health care services over the next year.
Of those ages 50 to 64, the percentage is even higher: 45 percent are extremely concerned or concerned about being unable to pay for health care costs.