Background: Bronchiectasis is an increasingly common chronic inflammatory airway disease. There is an urgent need to understand the epidemiology of bronchiectasis in older adults. We describe the prevalence and characteristics of patients with bronchiectasis within the US Medicare population. Methods: Among the 40% of Medicare enrollees with prescription drug plans from 2006 to 2014, we identified patients ≥ 65 years of age with bronchiectasis by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification claims (494.0 or 494.1) from a pulmonologist and no claim for cystic fibrosis. We calculated the prevalence from 2012 to 2014. Incident or newly diagnosed patients were those enrolled in Medicare at least 12 months prior to the first bronchiectasis diagnosis. We described clinical and health-care utilization characteristics for this cohort during the prior 12-month (baseline) period, and explored differences between those with and without a COPD diagnosis. Results: We identified 252,362 patients with bronchiectasis meeting all eligibility criteria. The average annual prevalence from 2012 to 2014 was 701 per 100,000 persons. Newly diagnosed patients were a mean age of 76 years, predominately women (65%), and predominately white, non-Hispanic (84%). During the baseline period, 12% were hospitalized for respiratory infections. Fifty-one percent had a dual diagnosis of COPD. Newly diagnosed patients with bronchiectasis and COPD had significantly different characteristics and utilization, for example were more likely hospitalized for respiratory infections during the baseline period (16% vs 7%) and to have a smoking history (46% vs 17%) compared with those without a dual COPD diagnosis, respectively. Conclusions: We confirmed a high prevalence of bronchiectasis in the United States and significant heterogeneity in patients with bronchiectasis with and without COPD that should be further explored.