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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Johns Hopkins: Medicare Spending Higher Among Older Adults With Disabilities Who Lack Adequate Support

A new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that more than one in five older adults who were aging in place with a mobility or self-care disability reported experiencing negative consequences such as having to stay in bed or going without eating due to no one being available to help or the activity being too difficult to perform alone. The study also found that Medicare spending was higher for this group as compared with older adults with disabilities who did not experience negative consequences.

The findings, published online May 28 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, emphasize the importance of non-medical care and supports for older adults who continue to reside in the community.

Dr. Jennifer Wolff, director of the Roger C. Lipitz Center for Integrated Health in the department of health policy and management, is the study’s lead author.

By the end of 2018, nearly 60 million people were enrolled in Medicare: expenditures are well over $700 billion dollars. An estimated 15 million Medicare beneficiaries are living in the community with disabilities.

For their analysis, the researchers used data from the 2015 National Health and Aging Trends Study, a nationally representative, in-person survey of adults aged 65 and older. The analysis focused on 1,961 participants linked with fee-for-service Medicare claims who reported having difficulty in performing daily household, mobility and self-care activities.

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