Currently, the Federal Government deducts 6.2 percent of our wages to set aside for future Social Security benefits.
At the same time, the Federal Government only deducts 1.45 percent of wages to pay for Medicare expenses. It’s no wonder that Medicare is underfunded.
Most of us who qualify for Social Security benefits enroll in the Medicare program. According to life expectancy figures, we can expect that an American born today will be receiving Medicare benefits for about 14 years.
Life expectancy at birth in the United States is now about 77 years old for men and 81 years old for women – overall 79 years. These figures are averages – about half of Americans born today will have died before these life expectancy figures while about half will live longer. (If I understand this subject correctly.)
However, this current figure of 14 years is deceptive. Today, the median age of Americans who are 65 years and older (2010 census) is about 74. An American alive today, then, can expect to receive Medicare benefits for about 9 years, still a considerable length of time.
In addition. one out of every four Medicare dollars is spent on the frail in their last year of life.
The 2010 census established that the entire population of the US is about 309 million. During the previous ten years, the total population grew by about 9.7 percent, but the population of those of us who are 65 years or older grew by about 15.1%. * Death in the United States is being postponed.
Today, about 13% of all Americans are 65 years or older (2010 census) – about 40 million of us. Of these 40 million, 5.5 million are 85 years or older.
- * In part, the older population has grown because the large number of baby boomers are entering their “retirement years.” The overall growth of the American population consists of births and immigration. What the population who will be eligible for Medicare will look like in distant years is impossible to predict with much accuracy. Will the birth rate go up or down? Will immigration rules be tightened or loosened?