Need for Retiree Medicaid Benefits Will Rise, Future Coverage Uncertain

Need for Retiree Medicaid Benefits Will Rise, Future Coverage Uncertain

Medicaid provides much-needed services to many Americans and the elderly make-up a small percentage of the program, but the need for Medicaid benefits for the elderly will increase, especially with medical costs rising faster than household incomes, finds a report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

According to the study’s brief, Medicaid expenses on retirees will likely increase sharply when the first Boomers reach their 80s, starting in 2026. Currently, Medicaid’s largest expense for the elderly is on long-term care -- over 60 percent of nursing home residents are Medicaid beneficiaries.

According to the study, the Medicaid expansion has led to more people taking advantage of preventive services and treatment for chronic conditions.

The report says whether Medicaid will be able to meet the needs of older Americans in the future depends on what comes out of policy debates about the size and scope of the program.

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