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US Elderly Skimp on Food, Clothes to Pay for Health Care

  • Some slash spending on food, drugs, utilities, clothes
  • Out-of-pocket expenses grew by 41% over decade to 2019

Older Americans are sacrificing basic necessities to afford costly health services, according to a survey that shows how many elderly people cut personal expenses to take care of medical needs. 

Out-of-pocket health costs for elders in the US rose 41% from 2009 to 2019, according to findings from analytics firm Gallup Inc. and West Health, a nonprofit that focuses on senior care. About 9% of Americans 65 and older spent less on food, 6% cut spending on utilities and 19% trimmed clothing expenditures to help cover health costs, according to the survey.