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Medicare's Coverage Gaps and Uncapped Cost-Sharing Create Burdens for Sick and Poor

Senior pays high medical bills

A detailed look at health care costs for Medicare beneficiaries finds that more than one-fourth of beneficiaries, an estimated 15 million elderly and disabled people, spent 20 percent or more of their household income on out-of-pocket medical expenses and monthly premiums in 2016.

Beneficiaries with high needs—those with multiple chronic conditions or physical or mental disabilities—are at the greatest risk of incurring high costs, the Commonwealth Fund study shows. Nearly one-third of those with three or more conditions spent 20 percent or more of their annual income on premiums and medical care.

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