The median income of Medicare beneficiaries was $24,150 in 2014, with considerable variation across various demographic characteristics, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported.

For whites, median per capita income was $27,450 in 2014, compared with $16,150 for blacks and $12,800 for Hispanic beneficiaries, according to the Kaiser/Urban Institute analysis.

About 33% of Medicare beneficiaries were below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) – which was $11,670 for an individual last year – and their median income was $12,150. In 2014, 29% of beneficiaries were at 200%-400% of the FPL, with a median income of $23,850, and 38% were at 400% of the FPL or higher, with a median income of $50,200, the report said.

Marriage had quite an effect on income, with married individuals having a median income of $28,300, compared with $21,800 for those who were widowed, $20,500 for those who were divorced, and $14,450 for those who were single. Education also made a difference: Median income for Medicare beneficiaries with a college degree was $41,500, compared with $13,850 for those who had not graduated from high school, according to the Kaiser and Urban Institute investigators.

“As policy makers consider options for decreasing federal Medicare spending and addressing the federal debt and deficit, these findings raise questions about the extent to which the next generation of Medicare beneficiaries will be able to bear a larger share of costs,” the researchers wrote.

Among all beneficiaries in 2014, they noted, 25% had incomes below $14,350 per person and 5% had incomes above $93,000.

rfranki@frontlinemedcom.com

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