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

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

Chapter:
(p.101) 3 The Risk of Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenditure at the End of Life
Source:
Explorations in the Economics of Aging
Author(s):
Samuel Marshall, Kathleen McGarry, Jonathan S. Skinner
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226903385.003.0004

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

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