NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

An Aging Population, a Looming Crisis

November 6, 2003

People 65 and older make up an ever-larger portion of the population of upstate New York, and the health care bill for the poorest of these seniors is becoming an increasing burden on the state and local communities.

  • In 2000, the latest year for which specific data are available, New York spent nearly $3 billion on Medicaid for people 65 and older living outside New York City; more than two-thirds of that went for nursing home care.
  • Of the 20 states that require some local match for Medicaid spending, New York requires the highest percentage local contribution -- 25 percent.
  • New York State spends $9,365 a year, on average, on its 3 million Medicaid beneficiaries; California, with twice as many recipients, spends $2,862 on average.
  • In 2000, elderly Medicaid users cost $22,138 on average, more than anyone else in the program, including people with disabilities.
  • Children covered under Medicaid cost only $2,142 a year, and healthy adults cost just $4,059.

As the baby boom generation begins retiring, it could create a crisis that could bankrupt local governments statewide, say officials of the New York State Association of Counties.

Source: Lydia Polgreen, "As Population Grows Older, Towns Face Crisis," New York Times, November 4, 2003.


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