The Concentration of Medical Spending: An Update
AbstractIn the last two decades, Medicare spending has doubled in real terms despite the fact that the health of Medicare beneficiaries improved over this period. The goals of this paper are to document how trends in spending by age have changed among elderly Medicare beneficiaries in the last decade and to reconcile the decline in disability rates with rapid increases in spending among the elderly. First, we conclude that the trend of disproportionate spending growth among the oldest old has continued between 1985 and 1995. Spending among the younger elderly, those 65-69 rose by two percent annually in real per person terms. In contrast, spending for those over age 85 rose by four percent. Second we show that the reasons for the large increase in spending on the oldest elderly relative to the younger elderly is the rapid increase in the use of post-acute services such as home health care and skilled nursing care. Spending on post-acute care for the very old has risen 20 percent per year in the last decade.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7279.
Date of creation: Aug 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as David M. Cutler, Ellen Meara. "The Concentration of Medical Spending: An Update," in David A. Wise, editor, "Themes in the Economics of Aging" University of Chicago Press (2001)
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Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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Other versions of this item:
- NEP-ALL-1999-08-27 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-1999-08-27 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-HEA-1999-08-27 (Health Economics)
- NEP-PBE-1999-08-28 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PUB-1999-08-27 (Public Finance)
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NBER Working Papers
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NBER Working Papers
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