Geographic Variation in Out-of-Pocket Expenditures of Elderly Medicare Beneficiaries

TitleGeographic Variation in Out-of-Pocket Expenditures of Elderly Medicare Beneficiaries
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsChen, LM, Norton, EC, Langa, KM, Le, S, Epstein, AM
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
KeywordsDemographics, Healthcare, Medicare/Medicaid/Health Insurance

Objectives To examine whether out-of-pocket expenditures (OOPEs) exhibit the same geographic variation as Medicare claims, given wide variation in the costs of U.S. health care, but no information on how that translates into OOPEs or financial burden for older Americans. Design Retrospective cohort study. Setting Data from the Health and Retirement Study linked to Medicare claims. Participants A nationally representative cohort of 4,657 noninstitutionalized, community-dwelling, fee-for-service elderly Medicare beneficiaries interviewed in 2006 and 2008. Measurements The primary predictor was per capita Medicare spending quintile according to hospital referral region. The primary outcome was a self-reported, validated measure of annual OOPEs excluding premiums. Results Mean and median adjusted per capita Medicare payments were 5,916 and 2,635, respectively; mean and median adjusted OOPEs were 1,525 and 779, respectively. Adjusted median Medicare payments were 3,474 in the highest cost quintile and 1,942 in the lowest cost quintile (ratio 1.79, P .001 for difference). In contrast, adjusted median OOPEs were not higher in the highest than in the lowest Medicare cost quintile ( 795 vs 764 for a Q5:Q1 ratio of 1.04, P=.42). The Q5:Q1 ratio was 1.48 for adjusted mean Medicare payments and 1.04 for adjusted mean OOPEs (both P .001). Conclusion Medicare payments vary widely between high- and low-cost regions, but OOPEs do not.


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Endnote Keywords

Medicare/geographic variation/out-of-pocket expenditures

Endnote ID


Citation Key8107
PubMed ID24852182