1 in 5 Older Americans Cutting Back on Health Care to Save Money

More than 20 percent of Americans age 50 or over report saving on health costs by switching to cheaper generic drugs, getting free samples, stopping pills or reducing dosages, and nearly as many skip or postpone doctor appointments for the same reason, according a new report by EBRI.

The data suggest that spending by those near or in retirement declines to match income, even when it means giving up real needs.

“We know that consumption tends to fall with age, but it’s difficult to measure whether falling consumption is voluntary,” said Sudipto Banerjee of EBRI, author of the study. “However, we found evidence that a significant segment of the older population may be making spending adjustments to their health care in order to save money.”

The study is based on data from the 2009 Internet Survey of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). The full report is published in the January 2012 EBRI Notes, “Spending Adjustments Made By Older Americans to Save Money,” online at here.

About ebriorg
President and CEO, EBRI

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