Reducing Cost Burdens for Medicare’s Low-Income Beneficiaries


Although Medicare provides a stable, trusted source of health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans, many face high out-of-pocket costs because of the way the program’s benefits are designed. In addition to high deductibles for hospital care and 20 percent cost-sharing for physician visits and other ambulatory care services, there is no limit on out-of-pocket expenses for covered benefits.

A new Commonwealth Fund report by Cathy Schoen and colleagues describes the cost burdens that low-income beneficiaries face, assesses current policies in place to ease them, and presents a new option for reducing cost-sharing and premiums for people with incomes below 150 percent of the poverty level.

The new proposal, the authors say, could help more than 8 million low-income beneficiaries gain affordable access to the care they need.

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