While a small share of the Medicare population lives on relatively high incomes, most are of modest means, with half of people on Medicare living on less than $23,500 in 2013. The typical beneficiary has some savings and home equity, but the range of asset values among beneficiaries is wide and varies greatly across demographic characteristics. Looking to the future, the income, assets and home equity values of Medicare beneficiaries overall are projected to be somewhat greater in 2030 than in 2013 after adjusting for inflation; yet, much of the growth is projected to be realized among those with relatively high incomes and assets. As policymakers consider options for decreasing federal Medicare spending and addressing the federal debt and deficit, these findings raise questions about the extent to which the next generation of Medicare beneficiaries will be able to bear a larger share of costs.
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