Medical Spending Risk among the Elderly by Race and Gender

Published: 2023
Project ID: UM23-02


Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) linked to administrative Medicare and Medicaid records, along with the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), we estimate the stochastic process for total and out-of-pocket medical spending by race and gender. By focussing on dynamics, we consider not only the risk of catastrophic expenses in a single year, but also the risk of moderate but persistent expenses that accumulate into a catastrophic lifetime cost. We also assess the reduction in out-of-pocket medical spending risk provided by public insurance schemes such as Medicare or Medicaid.  We will estimate this medical spending risk separately for whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities to assess whether medical spending risk is greater for minorities, and assess whether the reduction in risk provided by Medicare and Medicaid differs across races.