The Risk of Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenditure at the End of Life

Edited by Samuel Marshall, Kathleen McGarry and Jonathan S. Skinner

in Explorations in the Economics of Aging

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780226903378
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226903385 | DOI:
The Risk of Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenditure at the End of Life

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The chapter analyzes the magnitude, variation, persistence, and composition of out-of-pocket medical expenditures among older households. It highlights the extent to which high out-of-pocket burdens represent temporary financial shocks, such as from a more sudden acute illness, or persistent financial burdens, such as from a long-term chronic illness. The chapter also adds perspective on the broader changes in finances that are likely to affect individuals in the period leading up to death, and that may explain changes in asset holdings that are larger than out-of-pocket spending for health care. The chapter takes a note of transfers to children, charitable donations, perhaps travel, and lost earnings (by self or spouse) as illustrations of how asset profiles might be altered by terminal illness.

Keywords: out-of-pocket expenses; medical spending; health care; Medicare population; Health and Retirement Study

Chapter.  12426 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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