Friday, June 17, 2011

Medicaid Provides Much More Than Aid to Families

While commonly thought of as a program for low-income families with children, the majority of Medicaid dollars are actually spent on health care for adults age 65 and older and people of all ages with disabilities. In fact, 21% of Medicare beneficiaries, or 9 million people, are also eligible for Medicaid. 

According to Tricia Neuman, Vice President and Director of the Medicare Policy Project at the Kaiser Family Foundation, who spoke at a briefing on the subject last week, many Medicare beneficiaries are struggling to get by in retirement. As we know from the Elder Index, the annual costs for basic expenses are $20,326 for a single elder renting an apartment in the US. In comparison, one half of all Medicare beneficiaries live on less than $22,000, for African-American beneficiaries the average is $14,198 and Latino beneficiaries it is $13,527.

To make matters worse, half of all Medicare beneficiaries have less than $53,000 in combined savings. When taking into account that nursing home costs average $75,000 annually, you can imagine how quickly people can spend down to Medicaid reliance. 

With so much discussion around capping Medicare and Medicaid spending, it is important to educate yourself for the fight ahead. Join us to learn more about Medicaid by signing up for WOW’s webinar: Budget Battles: Threats to Medicaid on Thursday, June 30 at 3:00pm Eastern.

Maggie Flowers
Field Manager
Elder Economic Security Initiative

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