Health care spending for Americans over the age of 65 is growing more slowly than spending for people under 65. Per person spending, however, is higher for older people than for younger ones. Nursing home costs have been rising more slowly than expected, too. This comes from the latest Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data.

As a point of comparison, health costs for those over 65 were 3.5 times higher than working age people in 1987; in 2004, the number was 3.3 times higher. Overall per person health spending from all sources was $5,276 in 2004, up significantly from the $1,796 spent in 1987. In the 65-and-older category, spending increased from $5,282 in 1987 to $14,797 in 2004. That amount breaks down as follows:

  • $2,205 out of pocket
  • $2,351 private insurance
  • $331 other private coverage
  • $7,242 Medicare
  • $2,034 Medicaid
  • $633 other public source