Sunday, June 12, 2016

Two kinds of Medicare -- 2 kinds of patients? Findings may mean a lot for health policy

At end of life, traditional Medicare patients are more sick and frail than Medicare Advantage patients, new study shows

University of Michigan Health System

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Nearly one in three American senior citizens choose to get their government-funded Medicare health coverage through plans run by health insurance companies. The rest get it straight from the federal government.

But if health policy decision-makers assume the two groups are pretty much the same, they're mistaken, a new study finds.

And basing decisions on that assumption could skew the nation's efforts to improve care, and spend taxpayer dollars wisely, at the end of patients' lives, the researchers say. That's when one-quarter of Medicare spending happens.

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