• Because of their greater need, the elderly and people with disabilities have greater health care costs. The elderly' s per capita spending on drugs is over three times higher than that of non-elderly adults. While only 12 percent of the entire population, the elderly account for about one-third of drug spending.

Medicare Beneficiaries Need Prescription Drugs: Pie Graph

  • Over one-third (38%) of Medicare beneficiaries will spend more than $1,000 on prescription drugs. Less than 5 percent will spend more than $5,000.
  • The average total drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries is estimated to approach $1,100 in 2000. Over 85 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will spend money on prescription drugs, and more than half will spend more than $500.
  • Spending is higher for women. Because of their greater likelihood of living longer and having chronic illness, women on Medicare spend nearly 20 percent more on prescription drugs than men.
  • Out-of-pocket spending is also high. In 2000, Medicare beneficiaries are estimated to spend about $525 on prescription drugs out-of-pocket. This spending is linked to insurance coverage -- it is much higher for those with no coverage ($800) and people with Medigap ($650) than those with retiree coverage ($400).

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