NEW YORK, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. seniors on Medicare in the 2000s spent an average of $38,688 for out-of-pocket expenses in the last five years of life, researchers said.
Amy Kelley at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and colleagues said although Medicare provides nearly universal healthcare coverage for those age 65 and older the out-of-pocket expenses -- co-payments, deductibles, home-care services and nursing home care -- can be extensive. Medicare does not pay for long-term nursing home care
The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, also found more than three-quarters of Medicare households spent at least $10,000 in the last five years of life, while one-quarter made an average contribution of $101,791 and one-quarter spent more than their total household assets on healthcare out-of-pocket expenses.
The study authors analyzed data from 3,209 individuals with Medicare coverage included in the Health and Retirement Study from 2002 to 2008. They measured total out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures in the last five years of life.
The study also found out-of-pocket spending for individuals or their spouses dying with dementia was more than twice the average for dying from gastrointestinal disease or cancer.