Since the outset of the Medicare program in 1965, by how much has the average number of years that men collect Medicare benefits increased?
When Medicare began in 1965, 65-year-old males had an average life expectancy of 12.9 more years. By 2018, this had risen to 18.1 years, amounting to a 40% increase in the time spent collecting Medicare benefits. For 65-year-old females, the average time spent collecting Medicare benefits increased from 16.3 years to 20.6 years, or by 26%. These rising life expectancies without any increase in the age at which people become eligible for Medicare are one of the primary factors driving the $42.3 trillion in unfunded obligations for all current taxpayers and beneficiaries in the Medicare program.