2013 Medicaid’s Role in Meeting the Long-Term Care Needs of America’s Seniors

Kff.orgJanuary 2013 

Medicaid plays a key role in the health and well-being of elderly Americans, particularly those with limited incomes. The nation’s elderly – 40.3 million individuals age 65 and older – account for 13 percent of the U.S. population, and the majority are women often living on constrained incomes (Figure 1). Over one-third (34%) of the elderly have household incomes below 200 percent of the poverty threshold ($20,916 for individuals and $26,388 for couples age 65 and older).1 More than 5 million elderly individuals require long-term care assistance to complete life’s daily activities due to decreasing mobility and/or cognitive functioning,2 and those with severely disabling chronic conditions often require more extensive acute care and long-term care services as they age.3 The 85 and over age cohort is at highest risk for needing long-term services and supports (LTSS),4 and the number of individuals in this age cohort is expected to increase by almost 70 percent over the next two decades (Table 1).  Read more