50 Years In, Medicare Experiences ‘Jaw Dropping’ Drop in Mortality, Hospitalizations, and Expenditures
Nothing eases the sting of turning 50 like knowing you’re in better shape now than you were at 34.
Just in time for the 50th anniversary of Medicare, a new study published in JAMA(abstract only available for free) is making headlines for its findings that Medicare beneficiaries’ mortality and hospitalization rates declined between 1999 and 2013, as did overall expenditures per beneficiary. The rate of decline was described as “jaw-dropping” by lead researcher Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM, in an article in USA Today.
Researchers analyzed data from 68,374,904 Medicare beneficiaries, both in fee-for-service and Medicare Advantage systems, and found that all-cause mortality dropped from 5.30% in 1999 to 4.45% in 2013. Among slightly more than 60,000 fee-for-service beneficiaries, the total number of hospitalizations per 100,000 person-years decreased from 35,274 to 26,930, while average inflation-adjusted per-beneficiary inpatient expenditure shrank from $3290 in 1999 to $2801 in 2013.