To drive down healthcare costs for Medicare beneficiaries, CMS is expanding policies to reduce prescription drug prices, increase community partnerships, and foster technological innovations that will address poverty and other social determinants of health among the elderly.

These advancements are necessary, as older adults often face significant poverty challenges, said Cara V. James, Director of the CMS Office of Minority Health, and Tim Englehardt, Director of the Federal Coordinated Health Care Office, in a recent blog post.

“Poverty impacts millions of older Americans,” the pair wrote.

“One in four Medicare beneficiaries has less than $15,000 in total savings, and almost one in 12 has no savings or is in debt. There remain wide disparities among racial and ethnic groups: median per capita savings among white Medicare beneficiaries is more than six times greater than among either black or Hispanic beneficiaries.”

James and Englehardt noted that even with Medicare coverage, beneficiaries still struggle with high out-of-pocket costs. Among beneficiaries with incomes below the federal poverty level, 38.7 percent spend more than one-fifth of their annual incomes on premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses.

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