We serve as a non-partisan source of facts, information, and analysis for policymakers, the media, the health care community, and the public. Our product is information, always provided free of charge – from the most sophisticated policy research, to basic facts and numbers, to information young people can use to improve their health or elderly people can use to understand their Medicare benefits.Here are some of the interesting and sometimes surprising things in the 2005 report:
1. Medicare covered 14% of the population
Two major categories of Medicare recipients:
Age 65 and older 35.4M
Under 65, disabled 6.3M (Includes folks on dialysis)
Total 41.7M (2005 pop. was 295.6M)
2. Recipients had surprisingly (to me) low income and total assets
Median family income of recipients was $20,400/Yr.
Only 12% had incomes greater than $50,000/Yr. (Page 6)
Fifty four % had total family assets less than $20,000. (Page 8)
3. Medicare comprised about 17% of the national health care spending. (Page 53)
4. Total Medicare spending was $297B or a little over $7,000 per recipient. (Page 55) What is surprising is that the total is up 45% since then.
5. Medicare administrate expenses totaled 1.9% of benefit payments. (Page 58) Not bad, but may need more to prevent fraud!
For a less comprehensive but more up-to-date report, see Financing Medicare – An Issue Brief – January 2008.
Fraud is a big issue but I didn’t find any official estimate of the dollar amount at the Kaiser site. Seems it is difficult to separate fraud from errors but fraud could be up to 20% of the total Medicare expenditure. With the total increasing 15% a year, that trend appears to be the major long term problem. Fraud issue is discussed here.
Bottom line: Kaiser Family Foundation Web Site seems to be a good source of information for those who want to better understand current health care issues or run fact checks on stuff coming out of Washington. I love their charts. Check it out yourself if you like data.