Older Americans face the risk of high medical costs—even when covered by Medicare: Medical expenses by age and expenditure percentile, 2021

Percentile Ages 55–64 Age 65+
50th $3,900 $4,900
75th $8,200 $8,800
90th $13,800 $13,800
95th $18,900 $17,600
99th $32,800 $29,800

Notes: Households are ranked by the amount they spent on health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses in 2021. The 50th percentile, or median, is the amount the typical household spends (50% spend less and 50% spend more). Medical expenses are based on estimates used for the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), an alternative poverty measure published by the Census Bureau since 2010. This measure includes health insurance premiums, co-pays, prescriptions, medical supplies, and over-the-counter expenditures such as vitamins and pain relievers (Creamer 2022).

Source: Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) analysis of IPUMS Current Population Survey microdata (Flood et al. 2021).

View the underlying data on epi.org.