Medicare Spending Higher for Decedents vs Survivors

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The average per capita spending for Medicare beneficiaries who died was 4-fold higher than for survivors.
The average per capita spending for Medicare beneficiaries who died was 4-fold higher than for survivors.

HealthDay News — Medicare per capita spending was much higher for beneficiaries who died during 2014 than for those who survived the entire year, according to a report published by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Juliette Cubanski, PhD, MPH, from the Kaiser Family Foundation, and colleagues examined Medicare per capita spending in 2014 and trends since 2000 for beneficiaries in traditional Medicare who died at some point during 2014 compared with those who survived the entire year.

The researchers found that 55% of the Medicare beneficiaries who died at some point in 2014 were age 80 years or older. The average per capita spending for traditional Medicare beneficiaries who died was $34 529 per year, which was almost 4-fold higher than the per capita spending for survivors ($9121). The average Medicare spending among decedents was 80% higher per person in 2014 versus 2000; for survivors, the average spending more than doubled from 2000 to 2014. Among decedents in traditional Medicare in 2014, inpatient hospital services accounted for the largest amount of per capita Medicare spending. Medicare per capita spending was higher for decedents who were younger than 65 years ($41 950) than for those older than 65 years ($33 676).

 

"Our analysis shows that Medicare per capita spending for beneficiaries in traditional Medicare who died at some point in 2014 was substantially higher than for those who lived the entire year, as might be expected," the authors wrote.

Reference

Cubanski J, Neuman T, Griffin S, Damico A. Medicare Spending at the End of Life: A Snapshot of Beneficiaries Who Died in 2014 and the Cost of Their Care. KFF.org. 2016.

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