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California has the largest number of Medicare beneficiaries of any state — 4.5 million enrollees — and as the population ages the percentage of Californians covered by Medicare will continue to rise. It is projected that by 2030, California's entire elderly population — those 65 and over — will be more than double what it was in 2000.

This profile provides a factual framework to help consumer advocates, health care providers, and policymakers better understand California's Medicare population and inform their efforts to design programs and policies that meet beneficiaries' needs.

Key findings include:

  • Medicare reimbursement for care delivered to California beneficiaries is higher than the national average — about $600 more per beneficiary in 2006.
  • In 2004 and 2005, total annual medical payments per Medicare beneficiary in California averaged $11,326, of which $1,330 (11 percent) came out of the beneficiaries' own pockets.
  • A large percentage of Medicare beneficiaries suffer from multiple chronic illnesses. In 2005, 79 percent reported having two or more chronic conditions, and 37 percent reported four or more.

Reprinted with permission from California Health Care Almanac. © 2010 California Healthcare Foundation.

Originally published in California Health Care Almanac, California Healthcare Foundation, January 2010.

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