NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Death's Price Tag

August 6, 2002

Dying can be rather expensive, according to a new study by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). A senior near the time of death can generate more than $50,000 in medical, funeral and burial costs.

Taxpayers pick up much of the bill for end-of-life care:

  • Medicare and Medicaid pick up an estimated 65 percent of the cost.
  • Medicare alone spends about $28,616 on average, on medical bills for seniors in the last two years of life.
  • The deceased and their families can expect out-of-pocket medical expenses of $5,723.

Adding to the expense of dying are funeral costs:

  • According to the American Association of Retired Persons, a funeral and burial is the third-most expensive purchase an older adult will make, following a home and an automobile.
  • According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a funeral runs about $6,130, while burials can cost at least $2,000.

NCPA President John C. Goodman says these costs represent a huge public policy dilemma as more and more baby boomers require medical care in the coming years.

Source: Patricia V. Rivera, "The burden of death: Expenses can be heavy," Dallas Morning News, August 5, 2002, based on John C. Goodman, "The Cost of Dying," Brief Analysis No. 408, July 21, 2002, NCPA.

 

Browse more articles on Health Issues