Seniors and their families always face a reality check when they realize how much Medicare doesn’t cover—from necessary sundries like your drug-store “cheater” reading glasses to major costs like nursing-home care. A new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine focuses on out-of-pocket spending in the final five years of a Medicare recipient’s life, and generates some sobering details where that’s concerned. According to a review of the report by the Wall Street Journal’s Glenn Ruffenach, about one household in ten will spend $100,000 – again, that’s just out-of-pocket, not the total bill – over those five years.
Many retirees, of course, don’t have $100,000 to spend by the time they reach that stage. Which leads to another unsettling finding: According to a summary of the study, a quarter of the Medicare recipients in the study “spent more than their total household assets on healthcare” (emphasis mine). Behind that number, undoubtedly, are sandwich-generation boomers making some difficult decisions as they try to help their parents.