Medicare spending, managed care and pre-Medicare insurance coverage and associated risks of mortality, deterioration of self-rated health and mental health after four years of Medicare coverage

Yi-Sheng Chao


National spending on Medicare keeps growing and managed care is reimbursed differently in the United States. Health returns from Medicare spending are not certain. This study aims to quantify the effects of Medicare spending in the first two years of Medicare coverage, managed care and insurance coverage before Medicare (pre-Medicare) on mortality, mental health and self-rated health status after first four years of Medicare coverage. Individuals, who were interviewed from age 65 to 68 years, without Medicare coverage before age 65 years, were included. Health spending (out-of-pocket, OOP) in the first two years of Medicare coverage, their pre-Medicare characteristics and Medicare managed care were used to predict associated risks of mortality, self-rated health status and mental health (Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression, CESD scale). Eligible Medicare enrollees (N = 3,503) in the Health and Retirement Study from 1992 to 2011 were chosen. Total health spending was associated with higher likelihood of worse mental health and self-rated health, but OOP spending was associated with risks of health deterioration (p < .05 for all). More OOP health spending in the first two years of Medicare coverage was associated with slightly higher chance of more mental problems, but the magnitude of this association became smaller over time. Medicare managed care did not seem to be beneficial for mortality, mental health or self-rated health status. Expanding pre-Medicare health coverage (through the Affordable Care Act) may not influence health status after first four years of Medicare coverage. Preventing pre-Medicare health conditions may be the priority.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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