The Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) tracks health care expenditures for 12,000 beneficiaries. The survey is unique because it combines survey data with Medicare administrative data to give a detailed portrait of health care spending for Medicare beneficiaries. The MCBS provides health care expenditures for the Medicare population by service and payer, and it allows for analysis by demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. The MCBS collects beneficiaries' out-of-pocket expenses and insurer payments for all services, whether they are covered by Medicare or not.
* Personal health care expenditures for Medicare beneficiaries were $360 billion in 1996, while personal health care spending for the Nation was $924 billion.
* Medicare beneficiaries make up 14 percent of the U.S. population but account for 39 percent of the Nations' personal health care expenditures.
* Health care spending for the Medicare population has grown faster in recent years than for the Nation as a whole--health care spending for the Medicare population increased by 29 percent between 1993 and 1996 while national spending increased by 17 percent.
* The faster growth in spending has resulted in an increasing share of national...