Persistent High Spending Common in Year Before Death

Persistent High Spending Common in Year Before Death
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TUESDAY, June 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Almost half of older Medicare beneficiaries have high persistent spending throughout the full year before death, according to a study published in the June issue of Health Affairs.

Matthew Allen Davis, M.P.H., Ph.D., from the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor, and colleagues characterized trajectories of health care spending in the last year of life by applying a new methodology to administrative claims data for older Medicare beneficiaries who died in 2012.

The researchers identified four unique spending trajectories among decedents after adjustment: high persistent spending, moderate persistent spending, progressive spending, and late rise spending (48.7, 29.0, 10.2, 12.1 percent, respectively). Persistent high spending correlated with having multiple chronic conditions but not with specific diseases.

“These findings suggest that spending at the end of life is a marker of general spending patterns often set in motion long before death,” the authors write.

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